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Saturday, March 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sherry Grindeland / Times staff columnist

Yarrow Point woman plants seeds of Bellevue Farmers Market

Looks like Bellevue may finally be getting a farmers market — thanks to a Yarrow Point resident.

Lori Taylor hopes to run a farmers market each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot at the First Presbyterian Church on Bellevue Way. Not all the city permits are in place so she doesn't expect to open until mid-June.

"I was sitting in the bathtub a year ago and got this idea," Taylor said. "I went to my job at Wells-Medina Nursery and someone there knew the people who run the neighborhood farmers markets in Seattle."

Like the Seattle neighborhood markets, Bellevue's will feature farmers with only locally grown flowers and farm produce, no crafts.

She began making connections to start the nonprofit Bellevue Farmers Market. Her employer, Wells-Medina, is her first and only sponsor.

"I'd like to have more," she said.

Taylor describes the past year as both exciting and scary.

"I had this huge learning curve but people are mentoring me with phone calls and e-mails," she said. "This is really about helping farmers, preserving farms and serving the community with sustainable agriculture."

It's about time Bellevue, which was once a leading truck-farm community, gets an outdoor summer market for local produce and farm products. The city is behind the curve on this — Bothell, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah, Kirkland, North Bend and Woodinville all have long-established farmers markets.

Book report: Starr Klube's sixth-grade class has been turning a lot of pages. The 23 students at Sunrise Elementary School in Redmond have read about 300 books since November.

They're participating in a Heifer International project called Read to Feed. (Heifer International buys farm animals for needy families.)

Students get sponsors who pay anywhere from 50 cents to $2 for each book read. The money will be sent to Heifer International support programs in Tanzania.

"I've been a big supporter of Heifer International," Klube said. "For the last 10 years people have given me parts of animals or chickens as presents. But it wasn't until this year I discovered the Read-to-Feed program that my students could do."

The timing has been superb.

Klube recently learned that Heifer International had a grant to match the reading donations submitted by Sunday. Thursday she mailed the first installment — $4,449.

"Not all the pledges are in yet, but I didn't want to miss the matching opportunity," Klube said.

While she was talking, one student handed her another $88.50.

Although this is the first year she's gotten her students involved, it won't be the last.

"The students feel empowered," she said. "One girl said, "I've never been part of anything like this.' It is amazing to watch students' eyes as they realize they're making a difference in the world."

The students aren't taking the easy way out. They're reading big books, such as the Harry Potter series.

"We're talking hundreds of pages in each book," Klube said. "I'm proud of these students."

Century of service: The Wilburton train trestle in Bellevue celebrates an anniversary this year. It was built in 1904. (There's a good view of it from Interstate 405 near Southeast Eighth Street.)

As a fan of local history, what amazes me is that the Wilburton trestle, at nearly 100 feet above ground and 984 feet long, was not the longest or the tallest trestle in the area in the first half of the 20th century. It was topped by at least one other near Newcastle.

On the wall: Artist Ron Simmons of Issaquah has work on display at The Runnings Family Gallery in West Seattle.

For an artist, that's the equivalent of a writer getting published.

Simons is one of three featured artists currently in the gallery, at 4711 California Ave. S.W. His work on display includes oil pastel, acrylic, metal leaf and ground glass.

Mug report: Triple XXX Root Beer in Issaquah has been named one of the 10 Best Root Beers in America for 2003 by San Francisco root-beer critic and connoisseur Luke Cole.

He reviewed more than 75 brands in 25 states to come up with the ranking. Longtime fans of Triple XXX will be happy to raise a mug in a congratulatory toast.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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