Washington State Challenges World’s Premier Wine Regions

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Awards Washington First “Perfect” 100-point Wine Scores

The current issue of legendary wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr.’s Wine Advocate features a record-breaking review of Washington state’s wine industry, including the first 100-point scores in the state’s history. The April 24 review, written by Parker associate Pierre-Antoine Rovani, rated 86 Washington wines 90-points (“outstanding”) or higher, underscoring that Washington state has the ability to meet or exceed quality standards established by the finest wine regions in the world.

Making industry history, Quilceda Creek of Snohomish, Wash. secured 100-points for both its 2002 and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. Only 15 other U.S. wines have received 100-point ratings from the Wine Advocate, and only five 100-point ratings have been awarded to consecutive vintages by the publication since its inception in 1978.

“Receiving not one, but two ‘perfect’ 100-point scores is a tremendous achievement and demonstrates the quality vineyards and wines of Washington state,” said Robin Pollard, Executive Director of the Washington Wine Commission. “We’re extremely proud of Quilceda Creek’s historic recognition, as it reinforces our assertion that Washington is the ‘perfect climate for wine’ and can compete with the finest wine producing regions in the world.”

In the Wine Advocate report, Rovani delivers praise for Washington’s vineyards and wine producers, stating that “Washington state’s Columbia Valley, long described as having great potential, has fulfilled many expectations and its future is as bright today as any viticultural region’s on Earth.” Rovani also asserts that “the future is indeed bright for Washington’s wine industry!”

“This outstanding review is further proof that Washington state is now one of the premier wine regions in the world,” said Jeff Gordon, owner of Gordon Brothers Family Vineyards and chairman of the Washington Wine Commission. “We know this is just the first of more great accolades to come, and expect to see similar recognition for other Washington wineries soon.”

Rovani also affirms the Washington wine industry’s newly-launched brand positioning, Washington State – the Perfect Climate for Wine™, calling out Washington’s inexpensive and plentiful land, ideal weather and “top-flight” knowledge base as key advantages for the region. He adds that during the ten years he has reviewed the Washington wine industry, “winemaking knowledge has been honed, and lessons learned, so that today Washington is home to some of the most astute winemakers in the world.”

“The Wine Advocate report is a testament to the talented winemakers and world-class vineyards in Washington state,” said Ted Baseler, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and a member of the Washington Wine Commission. “These are historic scores for a wine region that is making history.”

Washington state is the second largest producer of wine in the nation, contributing $3 billion annually to the state economy and employing 14,000 people.

“The Business Case for Diversity” Panel Discussion, May 2 in Bellevue

Why is diversity vitally important to the success of businesses and organizations today? That is just one question that will be answered at Business Case for Diversity, a panel discussion featuring top industry experts on May 2, 5:30 – 7:30 PM at City University, 150 120th Ave NE, Bellevue, Building F, Room 1029; telephone: 800-426-5596, TTY: 425-450-4660, www.cityu.edu.

This event is sponsored by City University, That Brown Girl Catering, and the City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Cultural Diversity Program. This event is free and open to the community. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to the Cultural Diversity Office at 425-452-2835 or to Kevin Henry at khenry@ci.bellevue.wa.us. Seating is limited.

Topics covered will include workforce diversity recruitment and retention, resolving internal workplace issues, diversity trends in business, marketing to diverse audiences and diversity as a creative force in organization. A 30-minute question and answer session will follow the panel presentation and discussion.

Confirmed panelists to date are:

George Northcroft – Business and civic leader with experience in financial management, marketing and operations in Fortune 500 companies, and the Director of Business Relations & Economic Development for King County Executive Ron Sims.

Kirk Adams – General Manager of Administration for Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, a private, not-for-profit agency providing employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities.

Jacqueline Hill – President of Pathways Human Development Group, a training and consulting firm specializing in developing high performance in organizations and enhancing personal development.

Michael E. Sotelo – President of Approach Management Systems, President of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Vice President and partner at WG Clark Construction Co.

Also featured will be a panelist from the Greater Seattle Business Association, an organization dedicated to expanding business opportunities for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered populations.

“Valuing diversity and demonstrating commitment to intercultural competence are necessities for any successful business or organization in today’s multi-cultural and interconnected world. The creativity of a diverse workforce contributes to an organization’s ability to meet the needs of the global marketplace.” Lee Gorsuch, President, City University.

Looking for a Client to Help Find or Sell Property

I’m looking for one good client to help find property during May and beyond. Learn why my clients can depend on me to go the extra mile to help them buy or sell real estate.

For the first two propertys seller to call me this month, I will be happy to list your property for sale on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) only 1.5% listing commission or 50% of the normal listing commission. On a million dollar property, that could save you $15,000.00 or more.

Call Joe Kennedy at 425-455-LIST (5478) or send email to Kennedy@AAAProperties.net

MyFamily.com, Inc. Acquires Encounter Technologies as Company Moves to Expand Site and Offer New Services

MyFamily.com, Inc., recently announced the acquisition of Encounter Technologies as company moves to expand the MyFamily web service.

On this day, Encounter is one of three companies to graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) in 2006. ATDC is a nationally recognized science and technology incubator that helps Georgia entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies.

The acquisition of Encounter Technologies is another strategic step MyFamily is making to grow their team and develop technology that will give families innovative ways to connect and share on the Web.

Other strategic steps include a new generation of executive talent that Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of MyFamily.com, Inc. has attracted to pioneer the next wave of the company’s growth and innovation. Michael Graff, a former Microsoft executive, is chief among them and recently joined MyFamily as a Senior Vice President and General Manager of the MyFamily business unit. With the acquisition of Encounter Technologies, MyFamily appoints Encounter Technologies’ founder Hoyt Prisock to Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of the MyFamily web service.

“The decision to acquire Encounter was centered on the new valuable Web experiences they have been developing as well as the expertise and passion that Hoyt Prisock and his team bring to our organization,” said Graff. “We believe that this winning combination will complement our vision for what we will deliver in the near future.”

MyFamily has more than 3 millions members and is one of the first, and still one of the largest, family-oriented providers of private family web spaces on the internet. However, Graff noted, “Three million members is just the beginning. With the aggressive plans we have in place to improve the site and expand services, families have a lot to look forward to. As a result, we believe that many more families will choose MyFamily as their online gathering place to stay connected. Stay tuned.”

Group Health Breaking New Ground in Bellevue

Specialty Center Set to Open 2008

Group Health Cooperative (www.ghc.org) recently celebrated the groundbreaking of its new $125 million specialty center at the corner of NE 8th and 116th Ave. NE in Bellevue, Wash.

The nearly 200,000-square-foot specialty center will serve more than 95,000 Group Health patients who live and work along the I-405 corridor. The center will house physician offices in 20 different specialties, including primary care, and will feature operating rooms for day surgery, diagnostic imaging, and 24-hour services for acute care and most emergencies.

“This project is extremely important in terms of providing expanded, state-of-the-art health care access to the people of Bellevue and the region, and to our city’s continued economic development and growth,” said Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger. “Great cities need great medical facilities. This new facility will ensure that remains a reality here in Bellevue and takes us to the next level.”

Group Health patients will have access to more than 20 specialty areas and additional services including:

— Outpatient surgery
— Women’s health care
— Cardiology
— Sports medicine and orthopedics
— Cancer treatment center
— Imaging services (CT, X-ray, MRI, and more)
— Pharmacy
— Lab
— Retail stores for hearing aids, eyewear, and health and wellness

“This is a great step forward for Group Health staff and the patients we serve in East King County,” said Scott Armstrong, president and CEO of Group Health. “It’s so rare to be able to start from scratch and build a new medical center designed specifically around what patients need and houses the latest in technology and medical equipment.”

Group Health’s specialty center will be adjacent and connected by a passageway to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue. In 2008, Group Health’s Eastside patients requiring inpatient care will be admitted to Overlake Hospital, where their Group Health physician will be on staff.

“This highly visible, easy-to-find location next to Overlake Hospital will give Group Health’s patients convenient access to their medical care in a new facility designed around their needs,” said Jill Ostrem, vice president of Eastside for Group Health.

The architects for the Group Health specialty center are Ellerbe Becket and Northwest Architectural Company. The general contractor is M.A. Mortenson. The principles of the Green Guide for Health Care(TM) are being incorporated in the building design. The guide supports eco-friendly construction including use of high performing, renewable resources, and energy-efficient operations in health care facilities.

Luncheon guests donate $191,000 to support BCC students, programs

Guests at the Bellevue Community College Foundation’s Creating Opportunities Luncheon April 26 have contributed a total of $191,185 so far to support student scholarships and extraordinary programs at the college.

The total is expected to rise in coming days as contributions and matching gifts from donors and their employers continue to be received.

The gift total is 6 percent higher than the results from last year’s luncheon.

More than 460 guests attended the event at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna emceed the program, and former Western Wireless Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Stanton gave the keynote address, discussing the economic opportunities in store for the Eastside.

Led by Wells Fargo Bank as premier corporate sponsor, a total of 30 local businesses underwrote the entire luncheon, so that every dollar given by guests would go to support students and programs.

“The outpouring of gifts at our luncheon yesterday will help us keep the doors of opportunity open to students for whom higher education would otherwise be just a dream,” said Gaynor Hills, BCC Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the BCC Foundation. “All of us at BCC and the BCC Foundation are extremely grateful for the generous and growing support of the community.”

Since its inception the BCC Foundation has raised more than $20 million on behalf of Bellevue Community College. Through a combination of individual, foundation and corporate donations, the Foundation provides funding for scholarships, program enhancements and mini-grants for faculty and staff projects.

How to Cancel AOL

My mom finally made it to the “future” – an upgrade to Cable from AOL. (She’s actually still missing her old friend AOL). I don’t understand how she was able to keep them for so many years. I tried very hard to get her off of it.

Read what others at Digg say about how they were able to cancel aol: <http://digg.com/software/How_to_cancel_your_AOL_account

MSN Video to Exclusively Stream the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

MSN Video to Exclusively Stream the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Live Webcast and Video Highlights on Demand Will Bring the Festival and Soul of New Orleans Into Households Around the World

Who: Jazz Fest scheduled performances by Bruce Springsteen, The Dave
Matthews Band, Dr. John, Keb’ Mo’, Elvis Costello, Herbie Hancock,
Allen Toussaint, Galactic, the subdudes, Sonny Landreth, the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band with special guests begin airing live
on MSN(R) Video April 30, 2006.

What: MSN Video will offer an exclusive live Internet stream of the New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival performances this Sunday,
April 30, from 3 to 8 p.m. EDT at http://msnvideo.com/jazzfest .
However, starting April 28, MSN is also offering interactive
artist downloads and photos, interviews, original feature stories,
news, playlists, New Orleans travel guides, and other dynamic
content from the festival, bringing to life the next generation of
online entertainment. MSN will donate all advertising proceeds
from the show to New Orleans Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The
second installment of the festival will be streamed live on MSN
beginning the following weekend, May 7, 2006.

When: The first live broadcast airs Sunday, April 30, 2006, from 3 to
8 p.m. EDT.
(The second live broadcast airs live on MSN May 7, 2006.)

Where: The exclusive content can be seen now at

“New” Website Had Benefits, Pitfalls

As I was going through files on the current website, I saw a post that I made here in November that said the “new” website was almost ready. It was a lot of fun and took a lot of time. People really enjoyed it and we got over 1200 page views a day.

In the end, the open-source software and the servers that hosted it, did not prove to be reliable. The site(s) would often go down and more often, we would not be able to have access to edit it as needed.

I have decided that reliability is more important than flash – although over time, we hope to have both.

At any rate, this blog will probably now be used to post a lot more news about Eastside businesses.