Newsletter for Spring 2013
Mayor Earling led a 27-member delegation from Edmonds to our Sister City, Hekinan, Japan, during the week of April 1–8, the largest delegation ever to make the trip. The highlight of the visit was the 25th Anniversary celebration of our Sister City connection. One of the lasting impacts of the visit was when Mayor Earling and Mayor Negita planted a tree in front of Hekinan City Hall in honor of our 25 years of friendship. Another was the time spent visiting in Mayor Negita's office with a photo of Mayor Earling behind the Hekinan Mayor's desk—a real interchange!
Photos of the week showed Marni Muir of the Edmonds Art Commission, who met with the Hekinan Cultural Association to exchange gifts of art from our two cities and to forge stronger relationships for our artists. Chamber of Commerce President, Ron Clyborne, met with his counterparts and found many points in common between them, and Commissioners met with Board of Education officials as we plan for student delegation exchanges in 2014 and to send a new Assistant English Teacher from Edmonds in August of this year. Graham Humphrey from the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club met three garden/flower-related groups in Hekinan to discuss sharing information about gardening in our two cities and creating exchanges.
Mayor Earling spoke at the General Assembly for the 65th Anniversary of the founding of Hekinan and the 25th Anniversary of our Sister City relationship. After a tour of the Toyota plant, he joined Mayor Negita for a private dinner at a superb Japanese restaurant. Mayor Earling eagerly looks forward to hosting the Hekinan delegation coming to Edmonds in October.
The group was delighted with their visit to Kyoto to see shrines and temples, including the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, as well as cherry blossoms and to do some local shopping. Many of them also went to Ise, the most sacred place in Japan, since the creation myths of the country take place there. They visited the Grand Shrine of Ise and went to watch the traditional women pearl divers at work nearby. Tea ceremony with traditional green tea and sweets, as well as lunches and dinners in traditional Japanese restaurants delighted everyone.
You can see the many photos of the week on the Sister City Facebook Page (you do not need to join Facebook to see the pictures and read about the trip).
Edmonds will happily return the hospitality in October when Hekinan Mayor Negita leads his own delegation here. We hope many of you in our Edmonds and surrounding communities will join in the Halloween festivities and other events with our Japanese Sister City friends.
Effective April 10, 2013, the City’s Development Services offices and permit counter will be closed on Wednesday afternoons, from Noon to the end of the day. The telephone switchboard will still be open all day on Wednesday (from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and inspections will be done as normally scheduled. Although the 2nd floor will be closed to walk-in visits, customers may make appointments for Wednesday afternoon by using the City’s website (http://www.edmondswa.gov/services/permits-development/contacts.html) or by calling 425-771-0220. With the Wednesday change, normal hours are now: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. to NoonThe changed hours are a response to budget and staffing cutbacks being experienced this year. Meanwhile, development activity has been on the rise as the economy has begun to rebound. Acting Development Services Director Rob Chave noted that, “Given the squeeze we are in, something had to give. What we’ve tried to do is minimize the impact to customers while attempting to maintain our permitting timelines and respond to increasing permit activity.”
(On February 1st, Cynthia Pruitt and Jim Stevens, members of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee of Edmonds interviewed Steven Bernheim, a resident, local attorney, and former City councilmember, to learn his success story with increasing energy efficiency. The following article describes his motivation, efforts, and results.)Steve Bernheim is an individual who sincerely and literally believes in the value of keeping his energy in his back yard. Not only has he installed on his house solar panels that have freed him from the need to pay electric utility bills, but he does all he can to avoid the use of a traditional automobile by walking or biking to destinations when possible. When that isn’t possible, his electric vehicle is ready to roll. Keeping energy in his back yard ultimately translates to decreasing dependency on foreign oil, a security issue he recognizes as essential for our country to address. Of course, the impacts of global warming are also of great concern to him as well. In contrast, he freely admits that he saves money because of the actions he takes, but equally quickly says that this is not his underlying motivation.Steve was one of the first wave of individuals who signed up for a free home energy audit through Sustainable Works and had such a great experience with it that he also signed up his business for the service. The primary improvements to his house included weatherizing his doors and insulating the crawl space.Success in energy efficiency can be measured in a number of different ways, whether it’s via a family budget, performing a home energy audit, calculating a vehicle’s MPG, or through creating a community-wide energy meter capable of being displayed on-line. Steve’s vision for Edmonds is this final possibility, and he is hopeful that an Energy Speedometer can be created and displayed in the near future for citizens to mark progress to meeting the goals set forth in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.