Northwest NEWS

September 25, 2000

Front Page

City of Bothell Honored by the White House Millennium Council

The city of Bothell has been selected as a "Millennium Community" by the White House Millennium Council. This honor recognizes that the city has planned and initiated community projects that reflect the White House Millennium Council's theme to "Honor the Past - Imagine the Future."
   The city received a certificate from the White House Millennium Council signed by the President and First Lady.
   In the summer of 1997, the President and First Lady created the White House Millennium Council to encourage all Americans to mark the beginning of a new century and the next millennium. The city of Bothell achieves the goals put forth by the White House Millennium Council through its annual Freedom Festival each July.
   "It is a true honor for the city to be named a "Millennium Community," said City Manager Jim Thompson. "We celebrate this distinction with and congratulate our citizens as the city's outreach would not be successful without their support."
   In its "Millennium Community" application, the city described the Millennium Freedom Festival, which is produced by the City's Parks and Recreation Division. The Freedom Festival celebrates the Fourth of July through a variety of activities that involve the greater community. Activities such as free musical concerts, children's activities, parades, and community car shows are elements to the Freedom Festival.
   "We, the City Council, were so pleased when City Manager Jim Thompson surprised us with this certificate," said Mayor Mike Noblet. "Thanks to the work of our city departments and community, we have gained national recognition."
   As the city heads into the future, a new addition to the Festival is the construction of the "Town & Gown Loop." This two-mile walking loop will provide informational plaques connecting the new University of Washington, Bothell campus with downtown Bothell. Each plaque will recall an event from Bothell's history.
   The "Town & Gown Loop" is targeted to be complete by the end of 2001.
   Describing the enormity of calls during special events, Cain-Steffler said, "Before the 4th of July event and the Light Festival at Christmas, Dawn and Jenny will be on the phone constantly."
   Kuhn said that the majority of people who call in are friendly.
   "I rarely get an angry person," she added.
   Pickard explained that some days are filled with a lighthearted chuckle or two at some of the funny calls. She recalled a woman calling her from her bathroom where she was holed up while a bumblebee was on the loose in her house threatening to sting the lady if she dared leave her refuge. The lady wanted Pickard to come to her house and shoo the dangerous insect from the premises.
   Sandra Cain-Steffler remembered taking an odd call when she first came to work for the city.
   "I received a call from a lady who wanted me to come out to her house and get her neighbor's chickens off her roof," she said, smiling at the thought of the woman's confidence in her roof climbing abilities.
   Pickard said that the most unusual call was from a citizen who called to ask what wildflower mix was used on the I-405 corridor.
   The thought of that call brought a smile to the three women, amused at people who assume they drive around identifying roadside plants in preparation of gardening questions.
   On a serious note, Kuhn mentioned that she had just received a call from a man looking for shelter. And as much as Kuhn and Pickard would like to help everyone, they have limits to their power and knowledge at City Hall. However, they are usually able to direct the person to another agency that can assist with their inquiry.
   Still, they have plenty of answers to city related information. Next to their phone is a 'cheat sheet' full of telephone numbers callers regularly ask for, such as the number to the local utility or the Woodinville Weekly.
   Pertinent city statistics, including the population of Woodinville and the longitude and latitude of the city are posted on a blackboard beside Kuhn's work station.
   But there are many other reasons people call: some to report a street light out, others to ask about police matters, street closures, directions‹or to inquire about historical information, how to apply for a local business license or how to contact a state representative.
   And some people simply call and say, "I'm moving here.What do I need to do?"
   City Hall isn't totally without automation and does rely on a voice mail system for the main City Hall number for employees who are away from their desk and for after hours.
   According to Cain-Steffler, City Hall has four voice mail trees with twenty phone lines. When City Hall moves to its new building next spring, Cain-Steffler said that the voice mail system will go with them.
   "We're still discussing all the mechanics of the phone system."
   She said the physical move will be done by the phone company. However, the job of rebuilding the entire phone system at City Hall may go to her. Cain-Steffler has spent week-ends studying two thick manuals on the phone system and voice mail.
   When in their new building, Kuhn and Pickard will be stationed on the second floor. They will continue to provide their friendly "we're-here-to-serve-you" manner and they wouldn't have it any other way. But the secret to keeping their upbeat style was out when Pickard quipped, "Coffee helps."