Cherry Valley Elementary celebrates 15 years of accomplished readers at annual High Tea celebration

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, RSD

Clockwise from left, Haylee Bostron, Bridget Essex, Mrs. Feller (rear of picture), Stephana Egger, Rylie Ringer and Emma Leniszewski enjoy High Tea held recently at Cherry Valley Elementary. Photo by Leanne Christensen
The Cherry Valley High Tea began 15 years ago under the inspiring leadership of beloved Cherry Valley Elementary librarian, Nelda Brangwin.

Mrs. Brangwin encourages all students to participate in the High Tea Challenge each year, creating an atmosphere of motivation, challenge and inspiration for reading at every grade level.

Earning an invitation to the High Tea is not an easy task, as attendance at this coveted event is only achieved by students who read all the titles from the annual book list, which is quite a feat. In many cases family members of the students also join in for this exciting reading quest, which lasts throughout the year.

Over the years, Nelda has partnered with the Cherry Valley PTA to make the High Tea a meaningful, educational event for Cherry Valley students and their families.

In years past Mrs. Brangwin has invited many special guests to attend the tea, including local and state politicians. Nelda feels that in sharing this enriching literary event with community members it helps to increase awareness to the significance of reading, not only during our "school days" but throughout our lifetime.

Mrs. Brangwin shared of her appreciation to the many volunteers who helped to make this event possible, PTA chairperson, Kelli Benson, fellow staff members and her husband John. Nelda is thankful for all of the support, time and passion given to this event, sharing, " It takes many hands to bring this event to Cherry Valley each year, and I am so grateful for all of the assistance I receive."

In closing, Nelda expressed her overwhelming pride and joy to the students for their commitment to reading. She congratulated the students, parents and all staff participants for attaining such a remarkable goal.

Felonious Monk returns to take the grand prize at the Cedarcrest High School Battle of the Bands

  • Written by Deborah Wilk

vv Felonious Monk on stage
This year’s winner is Felonious Monk: Zach Malek on bass, Ben Parrish on guitar, Taylor Cramer on sax, and Parker Malek on vibes. Photo by Riley Bir
Nearly 200 people enjoyed hours of creative, original music at this year’s annual Cedarcrest Battle of the Bands on Saturday, April 21st.

Seven bands, all under age 21, came from Snoqualmie, Sammamish, Bellevue and Carnation/Duvall to show off their diverse musical talents. Music ranged from the Pink Floyd-esque sounds of CHS’s The Paramounts to Ithaca’s indi rock from Mt Si, filled with unique vocal harmonies, to the most-danceable grungy reggae of Duvall’s own That’s Cashed.

Funky new wave jazz band Felonious Monk, who took 2nd place last year, was in it to win it (and they did!). Tight musicianship by guitarist Ben Parrish, interwoven with Taylor Cramer’s smokin’ saxophone, held down by bass player Zach Malek, and Vibes groover Parker Malek combined for an incredible sound that blew the judges and audience members away.

The evening provided a great opportunity for bands from all over the Snoqualmie Valley (and beyond) to connect, hear other local musical styles, and support each other’s musical efforts. And of course, there is nothing like getting up on a professional stage that rivals local clubs, with the lights and sound crew treating you like a rock star, and letting loose with your own music while the crowd cheers!

A big thank you goes out to the great judges who had the foreboding task of scoring such a talented group of bands. Judges included KPLU DJ Abe Beeson, Jason Clackley and Nick Merz from Ground Zero all ages music club, northwest musician Raven, and former organizer of Duvall’s Teen Summerstage, Alexa Peden. After judges’ scores were tabulated in the areas of musicianship, originality/creativity, stage presence/crowd reaction and professionalism, the grand prize went to Felonious Monk, followed by Ithaca, Smote, The Paramounts, That’s Cashed, Max Wang and Elch.

And none of it would be possible without the support of a huge collection of local sponsors who helped RHYTHM (Riverview Helping Youth to Have Music) raise lots of money to support musical opportunities for students throughout the Riverview School District.

A big thanks to the following businesses which contributed band prizes, food for the judges’ dinner, and cash to help cover security costs: American Music, Bailey’s CC Espresso, Blake’s Pizzeria, Ground Zero, Ixtapa, Lazy K’s, Pickle Time, Sea & Air Transport, Top of the Hill Music Studio, and Valley Mail and Locksmith.

We would especially like to give a huge THANKS to the Duvall Civic Club and the City of Duvall which donated very generous grants to cover the security and promotional costs for the event. It also takes a big group of dedicated volunteers to make Battle of the Bands happen, and they deserve a heartfelt thanks: RHYTHM, Ryan Lewis, music director at CHS (and helpers Davis Bonebrake and Evan Eaton), the entire Battle of the Bands student team including: Riley Bir for his incredible poster art, Carson Wilk for his graphic design work, the always charming MC Carly Christensen, and the awesome lighting and sound crew of Miles Denison, Matthew Bergvinson, and Paul Hanover , Taylor Cramer, Riley Wilk, Ben Parrish, and parent chair Deborah Wilk.

And a special note of thanks to Kellen Fox from previous year’s BOB team who came back from college to help at this year’s event. For more information about the annual Battle of the Bands event and more photos, go to (photos are on the facebook page).

Acres of Diamonds – a new beginning for homeless women and children

  • Written by Connie Berg

Elizabeth Miller, program director, and Peggy McNamara, interim executive director. Photo by Connie Berg.
Imagine a 6-year-old boy who has never had his own bed to sleep in, or a mom with three children who have been homeless for 18 months.  These are just a couple of the stories of the residents at Acres of Diamonds in Duvall.

Acres of Diamonds is not a homeless shelter. Shelters offer a temporary place to live. Once a person or family is accepted into Acres, it will be their permanent home for a couple of years.

Acres of Diamonds is transitional housing for homeless women and children.  Acres has been a godsend to countless women and children in the Puget Sound area; it gives them a chance at a new beginning.

Acres of Diamonds has been in Duvall for 17 years. It has helped hundreds of homeless women and children get back on their feet.

The stories of the past and current residents are as varied as the people themselves. Some have had issues with substance abuse; others have been victims of domestic violence.

Most commonly now, the residents have ended up at Acres because of the depressed economy.

One thing they do all have in common when they arrive, they are homeless.  Acres is a Christian facility. Its staff and volunteers embrace the residents and teach and encourage them to become independent, Christian women.

Acres receives numerous calls for housing all of the time. The need is tremendous. In January, for example, they had 89 calls for requests for housing. They could only accept two.

When the new residents arrive, they are interviewed and together, they set goals.

The residents must be clean and sober; they must follow the house rules, be willing and able to work or go to school, be comfortable in a Christian environment and go to church.

The new residents start in phase one, which is a multi-family house with seven women and their children.  They eventually move to phase two, which also houses seven women and their children, in seven separate apartments.  The ideal path is for the residents to attend school or find a job and hopefully become self supportive in two years.

Peggy McNamara is the interim executive director and Elizabeth Miller is the program director.  Their biggest obstacle currently is the need for consistent donations, donors and volunteers.

Their goal would be to triple the number of residents in phase one.  If you are interested in making a donation, sponsoring a family or would like to contribute to the newly established birthday fund for Acres kids, please contact Peggy through the Acres of Diamonds website at  To see a list of current needs, click on Get Involved, or call (425) 788-9999.

Acres is currently having a paper goods drive for the entire month of April. Please drop off bath tissue, paper towels, baby wipes, diapers, facial tissues and napkins at the “Giving Box” located at Union Bank in Duvall.  Union Bank is located at 15305 Main St. NE in Duvall.

‘Best Buddy’ business is labor of love for local couple

  • Written by Lisa Allen, Valley View Editor
Best Buddy Dog Wash owner Debby Zuber offers a treat to Pete, a regular customer. Pete is a member of the Matt and Melissa Pilla family of Woodinville. Lisa Allen/Staff photo
DUVALL–Angel relaxes as comforting hands gently ease her from the back of the van to the pavement. Moments later the elderly German shepherd sits blissfully in a tub as her thick undercoat is combed out.

“I have always loved dogs and have spent my life with them,” explained Debby Zuber, who was doing the combing. “But it was pure chance we are in this business.”

The small dog wash business on Duvall’s Main Street was for sale when Debby, working as a volunteer for Homeward Pet in Woodinville, brought in a dog to be bathed.

“The owner asked me if I would be interested,” she said, smiling as she recalled the moment. “And now we are celebrating our second anniversary here.”

Under Debby’s watch, Best Buddy Dog Wash not only grew, but thrived. It wasn’t long before husband Jeff concluded he was needed at the shop full-time, so he quit his job to focus on expanding the business and doing the necessary purchasing. He eventually bought a van for pick-up and delivery of their four-footed clients.

While Debby focuses on the one-to-one dog care (she is close to taking the exam for therapeutic massage), Jeff works on the marketing side of the business, which includes developing relationships with other businesses in town.

“Coupons for other local businesses are attached to the small bags of free doggie treats we place around town,” said Jeff, who is also well-known locally for his affiliation with Cascade Community Theatre. “Debby is the dog expert. Where I come into play is the marketing; sometimes I spend all night on the Internet looking for interesting things to put in the store. Last June we started the pick-up and delivery; we talk to trainers and get the items they need for their classes.”

The business has four large wash tubs and offers full service, along with do-it-yourself. A rack is available for small dogs. Full service includes a bath, mat removal and toenails trimmed. The cost is $40 for a medium to large dog. The charge is $20 if a customer does the bathing. Many clients take advantage of the dog pick-up and delivery service, which is $5 each way. The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday and a groomer is available on certain days.

The store carries plenty of dog-related items except for food, due to lack of space. Debby and Jeff make an extra effort to buy merchandise from the local area.

“We carry dog treats made in Marysville and Chehalis, and organic shampoo from Seattle,” Debby said. “Our priority is ‘Made in the U.S.A.’  We want our customers to not worry about the manufacturers and offer a 100 percent guarantee.”

Debby noted that people have begun to look to them as a dog-related resource for things they need, including training classes. “We keep track of trainers and help people find specialized items,” she said.

“We have a good relationship with our clients,” says Debby. “Our philosophy is to be flexible where our customers are concerned. If someone is knocking at the door at 5 p.m. with a dog that has just rolled in something, we accommodate them. That can be considered a bit of an emergency. We are close to the trail, and often dogs get muddy or dirty or find something to roll in.

“What we never really anticipated was the ‘happiness factor.’ People find they really need this place if their dog is dirty. That makes it worthwhile.

“People also bring their kids in so they can be involved – we have little aprons and stools for them so they can help. Happy customers are what are important to us.”

And they still volunteer at Homeward Pet.

“Jeff picks up the dogs from the shelter,” says Debby, “so they can be clean and groomed and therefore more adoptable.”

For information, call (425) 788-7700 or visit