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Thursday, November 11, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Sherry Grindeland / Times staff columnist
Ski-swap stop turns into annual task


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Don Meyer went to the Newport High School PTSA ski swap to look at snowboards. He hung around for a few hours, helping the volunteer crew run the sale. That was in 1990.

The next year he went back as a volunteer. Then he became co-chair. His kids attended Newport, so he figured it was a good way to help the PTSA raise money.

His kids graduated long ago. But Meyer still hangs out at the ski swap. He has chaired it for a decade or so.

"Somehow I inherited the box that went with the job, and I've still got the box," Meyer said.

A number of other Eastside schools have used the idea of a ski-equipment swap — which is really a consignment sale — to raise money. But Newport's annual swap, which starts tomorrow, probably holds the record for longevity.

Chalk that up to Meyer.

When he isn't working his full-time job at Boeing and organizing the ski swap, Meyer works with the Bellevue Ski School. He knows the ski shops and dealers to invite to the swap. But he also encourages volunteers to make those with only one pair of skis or boots to sell feel just as welcome.

"Every year I say this will be my last year," Meyer said.

But he keeps asking the other volunteers and the customers how to make it better and then does it, from improving the forms people fill out to streamlining checkout.

What keeps Meyer coming back, he said, is knowing his work makes a difference. Since he started, the swap has raised more than $105,000 for classroom grants.
 
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People can check in merchandise from 3 to 7 p.m. tomorrow. The sale is open from 5 to 9 p.m. tomorrow and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Newport High School is at 433 Factoria Blvd. S.E. in Bellevue. For more information, go to www.skiswap.info online.

Dining in style

John Kenny of Bothell is looking for a few hungry men and women to support the latest Veterans of Foreign Wars project.

Kenny and other members of the Lake Washington VFW post will serve a Veterans Day lasagna dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. today. Proceeds from the $8 tickets will fund the group's Support the Troops activities.

The post is in Redmond at 4330 148th Ave. N.E.

Money report

Lacey Stuart's saga began a year ago in October.

The then-Bellevue High School senior was riding in a friend's car. They stopped to visit another friend, and Stuart left her purse in the friend's white Volvo. When they returned to the car, Stuart's wallet was gone.

The girls searched the car to no avail.

Assuming the wallet had been stolen, Stuart replaced her identification and credit cards. Not replaceable was the $100 she had just received as a birthday gift from her grandmother.

A year later — almost to the day — Stuart received a phone call from Bellingham. A crew detailing a white Volvo for resale had found her wallet — with her ID, credit cards and $105 in cash. They volunteered to send the wallet to a Bellevue car dealer for her. Stuart happened to be going to Bellingham that weekend, so she said she'd pick it up.

Once there, she was unable to reach the auto-detailing shop.

For several weeks, the folks at the detail shop and Stuart exchanged phone calls. The detailer said they kept forgetting to give the wallet to the auto-transport driver to send to Bellevue, but they always promised it would be on the next shipment.

Then they called with bad news. Thieves had rifled the detailing shop's van and her wallet had been stolen.

Luckily, the workers had earlier removed the cash for safekeeping. Last Thursday, Stuart got her $105.

Doing it daily

In reporting on the Crossroads Mini City Hall on Tuesday, I misread the figures. Turns out nearly 100 residents visit the Crossroads Mini City Hall daily, not weekly. The Bellevue neighborhood service center celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday.

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

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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