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Thursday, August 31, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sherry Grindeland

They'll be walking to class at Rosa Parks

Seattle Times staff columnist

While I love the name of the new school in Redmond Ridge, there's a bit of irony here.

There will be no bus transportation — neither a yellow school bus nor a public bus — to get kids to Rosa Parks Elementary School.

Rosa Parks, of course, was the courageous woman who helped launch the civil-rights battle by refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

Since none of the students live more than a mile away, they will get to school in "walking buses" where students walk together guided by adult volunteers along a prescribed route. Parents, led by Jignesh Kacharia, will team up to take the kids along five walking routes.

The organizer behind all this fun is principal Jeff Newport.

In the past 18 months, while he was still principal at A. G. Bell Elementary in Kirkland, Newport held more than 60 informal meetings with Redmond Ridge families. Because Rosa Parks School wasn't finished, his unofficial office was Sorrento's Coffee shop.

Duffers only

Forget the reality shows that feature beautiful people filmed in exotic locales. If Alan Abrams' concept flies, regular folks can qualify for "The Weekenders Golf Tour."

A former Bellevue resident, Cathy Wendling, has a good chance to star in the pilot. She and a friend, Pat Johnson, auditioned by playing a round of golf in Phoenix in front of television cameras. Fans vote online for the auditioning teams.

Wendling honed her golf skills when she lived in the Tam O'Shanter area — where houses surround a golf course in northeast Bellevue. No, she's not a champion. A handicap of 10 or less disqualifies you from this program.

"I'm an everyday golfer, and my friends and I play with our own rules," said Abrams, the Arizona man who dreamed up the show.

Instead of showing Tiger Woods mastering the long drive, "Weekenders Golf" will feature regular folks and guest celebrities having a good time. How good a time? Well, missing the ball is considered normal.

Preview the audition tapes (and vote) at www.weekendersgolf.com. Wendling's team is called Two Bags.

Entertaining moment

Kathy Scammell of Bellevue was among the crowd enjoying the Trader Vic's Memory Reception on Tuesday afternoon. The gathering at the Lincoln Square Trader Vic's honored patrons of the former restaurant in Seattle.

Then the action started.

"It was like a SWAT team descended on the building," Scammell said. "Police officers, squad cars, red lights flashing."

First lady Laura Bush was arriving at the Bellevue Westin Hotel. She spoke at a political fundraising breakfast Wednesday morning.

Purr-fect sound effects

If you're a cat lover, turn up the sound on your computer and go to MEOW's Web site at www.meowcatrescue.org. It purrs when you visit.

MEOW stands for Mercer Island Eastside Orphans and Waifs. The no-kill shelter has a plethora of adult cats needing homes.

Although it was started on Mercer Island, the center is in the Houghton area of Kirkland at 10600 N.E. 68th St.

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

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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