Auburn Reporter editor Mark Klaas discusses all things Auburn, including comings and goings, local issues and community efforts.
King County Elections officials encourage Auburn residents to mail in their ballots by Tuesday.
Mailed ballots require first class postage and must be postmarked by Feb. 14. Voters are reminded to sign their name on the back of the envelopes to make their ballots official.
Election officials expect only a “38 percent” turnout rate for the all-mail-in special election.
Do your part, and vote.
The Auburn School District needs your support to pass a critical educational programs and operations replacement levy package and Auburn High School modernization and reconstruction bond package.
As one of our readers, Dr. Harold B. Valentine, best put it: “Your taxes would not go up with the construction of the new facility because other building bonds are being paid off. A new building is needed. The old building is 61 years old. The rate for borrowing bond money is low. The best time is now.”
Auburn is in the spotlight, the backdrop for a Western short film.
Crews – in full Hollywood production mode – will be on location next week to film scenes at historic Neely Mansion and along bucolic Green Valley Road for the short film, “The Shootout”, an old West story about hope, faith and choices, starring legendary outlaw Jesse James and pursuing U.S. Marshals.
Filming spans four days, Friday to Monday, according to Marco B. Nunez, executive producer of Bellevue-based Ides of M Productions. The project involves a large production effort of 30-40 people, including the cast.
“The basis of the film is in Missouri, so we were looking at locations to resemble that,” said Nunez, a Green River Community College and University of Washington graduate. “Auburn and Snohomish County were contenders. But having gone to school at Green River, I remembered that Neely Mansion was just down the street.
“We scouted locations, looking for old Victorian homes,” he added. “We discovered Neely. … We wanted to use the inside of the house as much as the outside (for filming).”
Brian Sutherland, a Seattle actor, writer, producer and University of Oregon graduate, is cast in the lead role as James. Sutherland, a professional actor for seven years, is the co-founder of the improv group, Quiet Monkey Fight, and has performed in various comedy festivals, including New York, Los Angles, Toronto, Orlando and Vancouver. He recently became the voice of the Blue Beta for Microsoft, and can be seen in commercials for Guayaki Yerba Mate, “The Deadliest Catch”, Washington Lottery and Taco Time. He has performed in various films.
The cast also includes Tonya Yorke and Emie Joseph.
“The Shootout” is written by Craig Muller, a Seattle Film Institute graduate who has done work with National Geographic, Discovery, Adidas, The Food Network, Chanel, Dior, among other projects.
“I wanted to be able to bring a Western story to Seattle … to bring something that an audience member can take home,” Muller said. “I wanted to be able to tell my heart and how I feel toward having to make a choice of right and wrong, having to bring faith into your life …”
Nunez hopes to complete the film in time for a mid-January release. Tentative plans are to premiere “The Shootout” in Bellevue, and enter the movie in national and international film festivals, including the prestigious Sundance.
Fundraising for the film is ongoing, Nunez said.
For a preview: visit www.kickstarter.com/projects.
It’s a nice effort, and one with busy moms in mind.
Two women are leading the effort to bring some MOMentum to a public park near you.
Paige Green Dunn – actress and wife of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn – and Kelly Singer – a personal trainer and founder of Sassy Fit – have come up with an idea to make workout equipment available to busy, on-the-go mothers as they watch their kids play in the park.
The first equipment installment was Saturday at Auburn’s Les Gove Park.
MOMentum, co-founded by Dunn and Singer, is working in collaboration with City officials to make the donation-fueled project possible.
“I was inspired to do this project because as a mom, I see how tough it can be to find time to exercise,” said Dunn, who has a 2-year-old son, Hayden. “Whether the problem is not having a gym membership, not being able to afford a babysitter or being a working mom who doesn’t have much time with her kids, it can be a challenge.”
Dunn points out that not every mother can afford a gym membership.
“I have received so much from my own community,” she said, “this is my attempt to give something in return.”
Moms will have the chance to focus on their own health and well being while also encouraging it of their children, organizers say.
The stationary fitness stations require no electricity. Every product is eco-friendly and powered by people, sort of like an outdoor conservation-clean gym.
Each outdoor gym offers low-impact cardio equipment and strengthening machines that focus on the areas moms care about most – arms, abs, hips and thighs, organizers explain.
Efforts are under way to raise $20,000 for the equipment and installation at Les Gove Park. The playground-tested exercise stations will be available to moms year round, organizers say.
MOMentum was created to keep the importance of health and wellness a top priority so that busy moms don’t lose track of themselves. A healthy mother makes for a healthy family, organizers emphasize.
“I believe that healthy mothers raise healthy communities,” Singer said. “If we can make it easier for moms to exercise with quality equipment in a safe environment, she will become the foundation for a lifetime of healthy choices for herself and everyone around her.”
Les Gove Park proved to be a good starting place for the project.
“We wanted to find a park that was always buzzing, and it seemed like a perfect fit,” Dunn said. “We wanted this equipment to be used, and Les Gove Park is a busy place. We’re really excited about the park.
Kudos to to the good people at Valley Christian School for completing its latest project – six new classrooms.
The private school continues to make an impact in the lives of students. According to Principal Gloria Butz, enrollment is growing.
It is an active school and church, a small but effective congregation who puts students and families first.
To read more, see www.pnwlocalnews.com.
Kudos to the City for putting on ArtRageous.
The free arts festival, now in its third year, came to life at Les Gove Park last weekend. The festival invited the public to create and celebrate art in the park. The program included hands-on art-making activities for all ages, local art organizations, professional artist demonstrations, art vendors, food booths and music.
The Auburn Parks, Arts and Recreation Department produced it. The reviews were positive.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Maija McKnight, visual/public art coordinator for the City. “It’s pretty young … we don’t have an established baseline yet … and the feedback was good.”
McKnight and staff stepped up the program, boosting entertainment and adding 23 art-for-sale vendors while keeping the nature of the events – its diversity, high quality of art and the public’s accessibility – intact.
Who especially starred? Theater Simple – an award-winning, internationally acclaimed touring troupe – performed its newest interactive, all-ages park escapade, “Wonderland: Alice Adventures.”
Plans are for the festival to return to its familiar August slot next year. ArtRageous is made possible with the generous support from 4Culture and 4Culture Site Specific.
Paul Fouhy’s cast from the past is putting on another benefit program.
Fouhy, a child of the ’50s, has selected another James Valcq’s musical comedy, “Zombies From The Beyond,” a spoof lampooning sci-fi of that era.
The Summer Alumni Theater Company premieres “Zombies” on Thursday at the Theatre at Auburn Mountainview, 28900 124th Ave. SE.
Shows, all starting at 7:30 p.m., are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and again Aug. 18, 19, 20.
Tickets are $10. Proceeds benefit the high school drama students scholarship fund. The SATC is comprised of actors, actresses and artists who graduated from Auburn-area high schools.
“Because of our summer shows, we were able to give $2,800 this year to students to further their education,” Fouhy said.
In “Zombies From The Beyond,” a small group of scientists and townspeople have to save Milwaukee from a pack of singing, dancing zombies from outer space.
“It’s fun and high energy,” said Dave Cox, who plays Major Malone, commander of the Space Center.
This is the fourth summer the SATC has pulled together to produce a summer show. Each has been well received in the community.
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Robert A. Boyd is an interesting man who went through hell – Vietnam hell.
He was a CIA-trained special operations sniper – skilled with weapons and jungle warfare – during his tours of Vietnam in 1967-68. He survived the horrors of the war, the Tet Offensive, and came home a different man, a torn man. The war remains with him – to this day.
“I never left the combat theater,” he said. “I brought it home with me.”
Boyd, a longtime South Sounder, is an author of a book detailing his experiences and those of his fellow soldier. Today, he is working to improve conditions and ensure benefits for veterans. Today, he continues to suffer himself, a 64-year-old veteran with PTSD and other ailments.
To learn more about him and his compelling book, visit his website, www.codenamelitefoot.com.
I had a chance to sit down with Boyd. The man was generous with his time and his many experiences. His story appears Thursday evening online at www.auburn-reporter.com and in print Friday.
We covered several aspects of the war, from weaponry to policies.
Here are some parts of the interview that didn’t make the printed story:
Boyd said the common soldier wasn’t trained or equipped properly for a different kind of war.
“The normal, everyday individual who was sent into Vietnam was not trained to be there,” Boyd said. “It was an on-the-job, live-or-die situation, and a lot of these kids died because they were ‘Vietnam stupid.’ … What I saw in the faces of these kids … I mean, I was a kid myself … we were all full of ourselves. We were told that we were the best. We were told we could get the job done. We worked to that end. What I found in Vietnam … is that kids were sent in with no understanding.
“A lot of them didn’t have a good education. A lot of them joined the military just because they needed some kind of structure in their life,” Boyd said. “But when they got to Vietnam, they stepped into a meat grinder. They literally did. They were fighting an enemy who had years of training to fight in their own country. … These high school kids had no real jungle combat training.”
The military equipped the U.S. soldier with the wrong weaponry. The M16 was a bad choice, he said.
“The M16 (rifle), in particle, got so many people killed because the first weapons taking into the country didn’t function right,” Boyd insisted. “Our guys were told they didn’t need to clean them … they were self-cleaning … and they jammed. And sometimes half the guys who went on patrol came back dead because their weapons jammed.
“The Vietcong were winning because they had superior weaponry … the AK, which is a helluva weapon. Even today, it’s listed as one of the top weapons of all-time.”
Boyd had high marks for the Marine.
“I never saw a Marine I couldn’t be proud of. They were good men.”
On his actions as a sniper:
“I reacted the right way. I think that’s about all I can say about that. I reacted the way I was brought up to react, told to react. And I have tried to live my life that way.”
Was the war win-able?
“No. … We never made any headway in that country, and I never ran out of targets.”