by Ralph Nichols, with photos by Michael Brunk

WWII Veteran John Hauff shares a log book entry to Ralph Nichols

“It was a lot of fun until they started shooting at us.” So quipped John Hauff, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Force – when I asked him what it was like up there.

We were talking before our flight aboard the Aluminum Overcast – the Experimental Aviation Association’s vintage B-17 that recently visited the Museum of Flight – from Boeing Field last week.

A P-51 fighter pilot, Hauff escorted B-17 “Flying Fortresses” and B-24 Liberators on bombing runs over Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, from February to October, 1944.

A member of the 339th Fighter Group, 503rd Squadron, Eighth Air Force, he flew 75 missions. “When the bombers told us they were done,” Hauff added, “then we cut loose and had fun and strafed targets on the ground.

A native of New Jersey who today lives in Lakewood, south of Tacoma, Hauff tells the rest of the story in recollections of missions that he’s written.

Read the full story on our sister site The B-Town Blog

Little did regional leaders know when they built it, but the Link Light Rail system has become a weak spot in SeaTac’s zombie defense plan. Brains, trains… I guess they go together when you’re a hungry zombie looking for your next meal.

The Crypticon horror convention is back in SeaTac this weekend and in an event inaugurated last year, the folks behind Seattle Zombies invited a few of their friends to ride the Light Rail from Westlake down to the convention.

View the full gallery of photos on The SeaTac Blog

In a pre-opening celebration held May 9, 2012 the Port of Seattle dedicated the new Consolidate Rental Car Facility located on International Boulevard at State Route 518.

After brief speeches from key people involved in the construction project, a large banner was unrolled and subsequently “cut” by one of the Port’s new shuttle buses.

View the full post with photo gallery on our sister site, The SeaTac Blog

If you drove past Sea-Tac International Airport on Saturday afternoon, you might have noticed a bit of excitement happening along International Boulevard.

The occasion was a rally and march in support of fair wages for airport and Port of Seattle workers.

Organized by OneAmerica and Working Washington, the event celebrated International Workers’ Day with a rally at the Sea-Tac Airport International Flag Pavilion and then a march down International Boulevard to Angle Lake Park.

Read the full story and view the photo gallery on our sister site The SeaTac Blog

South King Fire & Rescue and the Cities of Federal Way and Des Moines, WA hosted a dawn 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at Celebration Park in Federal Way on Sunday Morning, September 11.

Visit our sister site The Waterland Blog to view the photo feature from today’s event.

Advertiser Three Tree Montessori School invites you to schedule a visit. Come and view the beautiful classrooms, gardens and playgrounds, and learn about Montessori programs for children ages one through twelve.

Have you driven down SW 160th Street and wondered what was going on behind those whimsical columns? That warm ochre and brick-colored building is the home of Three Tree Montessori School: a rich and vibrant community that supports the education principals of Dr. Maria Montessori. Montessori is a time-tested (since 1907 in Europe, and the mid-50s in the US), holistic education approach, designed to nurture the whole child.

Choosing a school for your child is arguably one of the most difficult decisions you will make for them. There are so many possibilities (public, private, conventional, or alternative) that it can be overwhelming. Three Tree Montessori School provides relaxing/no-pressure tours to inquiring families. They generously answer questions, offer resources, and (surprisingly) encourage visitors to visit competing local schools (as well as their own).

What makes Three Tree Montessori School different from many schools is its commitment to the founding principles of Dr. Maria Montessori. The Montessori name is not trademarked, which means that any school may call itself a Montessori. But Three Tree Montessori School is dedicated to the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) approach. AMI was founded by Dr. Montessori herself in 1929, and is committed to preserving the integrity of Maria Montessori’s method. Each TTMS teacher is accredited by AMI, which is equivalent to a Master’s Degree, and many have a Master of Education degree as well. TTMS teachers also go each year for intensive additional training to assure that their education is current and refreshed. The AMI method focuses on each child’s potential, providing hands-on experiences that nurture the love of learning. It emphasizes collaboration, self-expression, and self-motivation in a beautifully prepared environment, which fosters respect, peace, joy and learning for life.

To give you an idea of what Three Tree Montessori School is like, here’s a slideshow of photos:

We spent time viewing Three Tree’s students at work. It wasn’t like any classroom we knew of, being products of public school, but it was fascinating and worth explaining to our readers who are interested in public school alternatives.

Montessori divides classes by the age and needs of the individual child, not by arbitrary timelines. The Toddler Program includes children aged 1 (and walking) to 3. There are two toddler classes with 12 students in each class guided by a teacher and two assistants. Students may stay half day or full day.

The Toddler environment is charming to see. The rooms are designed with toddler sized furniture, tools and instruments, made primarily of natural and beautiful materials. The room is conceived as an extension of the home: designed to meet the needs of the child and to foster independence, motor coordination and language acquisition. This is where young children experience their first structured contact with other children. We observed tea parties, biscuit-baking and sweeping all performed with age appropriate tools.

Next we were off to the Primary Program for ages 2 ½ – 6. We observed one of four primary classes. There is a teacher, an assistant, and a support staff. One of the basic tenets of Montessori theory is the multi-age classroom. Here students learn practical life, sensorial, cultural, math, language activities and of course, outdoor play. The materials, here too, are beautiful and hands on. Observation, experimentation, and kinesthetic learning are basic building blocks in this world. There isn’t a desk in sight; instead there are chairs, bookshelves, and tables that are sized appropriately. Many of the children were using floor mats, studying math and geography working in groups or individually, with the older students mentoring the younger. We noted how peaceful it was as they were engaged at their own pace.

Finally we were welcomed into one of the two Elementary classrooms. Yes, welcomed. Two girls (class greeters) welcomed BTB and offered tea. There are two Elementary classrooms at Three Tree Montessori School. The Lower Elementary Classroom serves ages 6 – 9, and the upper Elementary serves children ages 9 – 12. Students were working in small groups. Elementary children are noted for their questioning minds and their imaginations. The ability to reason is at its greatest capacity in the child of this age. The elementary classroom is designed to be the stepping-off point into the universe. The study of language includes writing, reading and oral expression. Math includes arithmetic, geometry and algebra (and we’re talking little kids learning this stuff!). Once again, all this learning is done in a variety of classroom areas on the floor, in the garden, or at tables.

After our tours of the classrooms were complete, we toured the gardens. Outdoor education is as important as indoor education at Three Tree Montessori School. Each age group has a spacious garden area planted just outside the classroom. We saw tidying, watering, and harvesting.

Service to the community is also an important aspect of the program. Over the years, the children of Elementary have raised money for a Montessori school in Kenya, organized food drives for Northwest Harvest and holiday gift drives for the non-profit organization Baby Boutique, and held a clothing drive for a local family who lost all their belongings in a fire.

Three Tree Montessori School is a board run, non-profit school that has been steadily growing since 2003. The 2011/2012 school year will kick off with a new logo and two new classroom environments. It offers an impressively diverse student and teacher population. They work to keep classrooms balanced (with age, gender, ethnicity, ability, & personality). There are 125 students at the school with room for more.

For more information about Three Tree Montessori School, please contact the school office at (206) 242-5100 or visit their website. The School is located in Burien at 220 SW 160th, near Sylvester Middle School.

On Wednesday, March 30, seniors from nine local cities gathered at the Tukwila Community Center to crown a Wii bowling champion. The sixteen teams have been playing for the last four months leading up to this week’s league tournament.

The league was formed four years ago by Kristy Dunn from Burien Parks & Recreation and Sheri McConnaughey from Tukwila Parks & Recreation. The goal was to bring the cities together and capitalize on the popularity of Wii bowling to give local seniors an opportunity to socialize while being active.

The sixteen teams included:

Division A

  • Senior Stars (Auburn)
  • Wii Be Bowling (Bonney Lake)
  • Wii Kickin’ (Kent)
  • Wii Ones (Kent)
  • SeaTac Flyers (SeaTac)
  • Wii Express (Burien)

Division B

  • Wii Sparklers (Des Moines)
  • Seniors on Strike (Bonney Lake)
  • Alley Cats (Enumclaw)
  • Sweet Rolls (Enumclaw)
  • The Rowdy Bunch (Burien)
  • Pin Droppers (Maple Valley)
  • Senior Strikers (Auburn)
  • Hit or Miss (Bonney Lake)
  • Gutter Gals (Tukwila)
  • Split Happens (Tukwila)

In division A, the SeaTac Flyers took first place with Kent Wii Kickin coming in second. The division B champions are Des Moines Wii Sparklers with the Maple Valley Pin Droppers as runners up.

Throughout the course of the tournament seven perfect games were bowled: Shia Godwin – Auburn, Curt Torfin – Auburn, Fred Geraldsen – SeaTac, Mila Pastor – SeaTac, Will Dyrness – SeaTac (two times!), Mike Ruppercht – Kent.

Last week we sat down with four PNW agents that offer an extra edge when it comes to selling or buying homes for those in our communities that either speak Spanish as their only language or use English as a second language. These four speak Spanish as their first or second language!

Ranging in experience from the “seasoned old guy to the new and new gals on the team,” these agents have the shared opinion that at “Prudential we’re like family, we want to help other agents (with the language) and to see everyone succeed.” They are available to all agents who need assistance with the language! Let’s meet them.

Marco De Oliveira: Marco is the ‘seasoned old guy’, which is fair to call a guy who’s been in real estate so long he couldn’t give us an answer. He knows it’s been over 20 years, all in SW King County! He was one of the original agents in the Olde Burien office. Moving here as a teenager from Brazil, Marco actually speaks Portuguese as his first language, Spanish as his second, English as his third and has a smattering of French. With a son headed (hopefully) into professional soccer, Marco’s community volunteerism has paid off. He’s been very active in the development, coaching of local youth and adult soccer leagues and continues to play in over 40+ (age) soccer leagues. Marco was in international business, travelling and living all over the world prior to settling down into real estate and Normandy Park to raise his son.

Mari Lopez: Mari left a job in a downtown law firm and joined PNW in Federal Way seven years ago. She moved closer to home a year ago when she transferred to their Burien office. “I love working together with the different cultures. We are here to serve and inform in the process.” Mari moved to the states with her family from Mexico when she was three. When not selling or buying houses, Mari is visiting her two young granddaughters (1-1/2 years and 2 months) who live in nearby Tukwila and volunteering Gospel Mission in South Seattle and collecting mass quantities of food for Prudential’s “Give Back” Food Drive. Mari’s bi-lingual business card provides her mission with PNW: “In the business of home ownership, purchasing or selling/En el negocio de compra o venta de propiedades.”

Norbelle Suazo: Norbelle is the new kid on Prudential’s block after five years in the business, she moved her license to PNW’s Burien Office in November 2010. When asked why PNW, Norbelle said “I love it. I’ve already learned alot. They’ve got great tools.” Besides that, she and her husband and their three young kids live only two blocks from the office. She’s been known to walk to work in nice weather. Norbelle has recently started a blog to educate and inform the Latino buyers and sellers. You’ll find this information at bienesraicesenseattle.blogspot.com. (Real Estate in Seattle). Norbelle’s originally from Guatemala and has been in Seattle since she was a teenager.

Adriana Gonzalez: Adriana started her career in real estate in 2004 and has just recently joined the Prudential Northwest realty team. She has never been more excited, about all the tools, services and support that they have provided. With her experience she is planning to live by “We are all about People” Prudential’s famous slogan. She is also a well know radio host of the “Las Como Son” radio program every weekday at 10:00AM 1540 AM and KXPA. com. Her goal is to inform, educate and make a difference bringing to her audience a valuable lesson and sources how to improve their life style. Her charisma and witty personality captures to listeners and viewers of all ages. Her passion, is to make a positive influence in the Hispanic Community showing that everything is possible if you really want it, “If you say you can, or if you say you can’t either way you are right” she says.

Imagine completing the complicated real estate process in a foreign language. That’s what buyers and sellers who do not speak English must do every day. These agents agree that it’s especially tough on the first time home buyers. “Families need help. We are here to navigate through the process. Our clients rely on us to have a smooth and pleasant transaction,” explained Mari.

This Saturday, March 26, Agents Norbelle Suazo and Adriana Gonzalez will be hosting a special seminar in Spanish to answer the very important question facing many homebuyers: Short Sale (Venta Corta) versus Foreclosure (Ejecucion Hipotecaria). Both have financial implications that could effect the rest of your financial life.

This seminar will take place at Prudential Northwest’s Burien office at 127 SW 156th from 12-2 PM. Enjoy some light refreshments as you quiz the experts on other real estate questions you have.

There is no charge for this seminar. Call or text Norbelle at the following numbers for more information: 425-780-9631 or 206-228-8828.

With the entire Puget Sound on alert for snow, the blog staff has been keeping one eye on the sky in case any of the white stuff puts in an appearance.

Several of our photographers have been preparing for the weather and looking at ways we can cover events like these more creatively. One tool we’re experimenting with is time lapse video.

Photographer Michael Brunk had his camera set up and waiting when a brief snow flurry blew through earlier today and put together this video.

Three Tree Montessori School invites parents and kids to their Open House Saturday, January 29th, from 10am – Noon. Three Tree Montessori School is located in Burien at 220 SW 160th, near Sylvester Middle School.

Have you driven down SW 160th Street and wondered what was going on behind those whimsical columns? That warm ochre and brick colored building is the home of Three Tree Montessori School, a rich and vibrant community that supports the fundamentally unique education principals of Maria Montessori. Montessori is a time-tested, science based approach to education, designed to nurture the whole child.

Come view the beautiful classrooms, gardens and playgrounds, meet the teachers, and learn about Montessori programs for children ages one through twelve.