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Originally published July 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 26, 2007 at 7:50 AM


Sherry Grindeland

Why did the ducklings cross the road?

Geoff Sweet, like many other drivers, was caught in crawling traffic late Tuesday morning on northbound 405. He figured it was an accident...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Geoff Sweet, like many other drivers, was caught in crawling traffic late Tuesday morning on northbound 405. He figured it was an accident.

When he reached the Northeast Eighth Street exit in Bellevue, cars were swerving around something on the freeway. Turns out drivers were making way for six ducklings running back and forth between lanes. Sweet, a self-described professional geek, stopped on the shoulder.

"I jumped out of the car and, like an idiot, ran into traffic," said the Maple Valley resident.

He herded the ducklings to the shoulder where they split up and ran. Sweet caught two and stuffed them through his Jeep window. Another driver ran to him, clutching the other four. They stuffed those into the Jeep, too.

The woman, known to Sweet only as Gretchen, fetched a bucket from her car. By then the ducklings were hiding under the Jeep seats.

"I can only imagine what it looked like to passing drivers," Sweet said. "Gretchen lay on my back seat trying to put the ducks into the bucket and I was head first under my steering wheel, poking at them to chase them out from under the seat."

Sweet drove his bucket of ducklings to his Redmond office. He works at Wild Tangent, an online-video-game company. The ducklings spent the afternoon in a box, splashing in a pan of water and squeaking happy baby quacks.

"Before I left the freeway, I walked up and down the shoulder looking for the mama duck," he said. "Normally when you find stuff in the wild, you leave them alone for 24 hours to make sure the mother isn't coming back. If I'd left them alone in that concrete tub called a freeway in downtown Bellevue, they would have been dead within an hour."

Tuesday night Sweet delivered the ducklings to a Snohomish wildlife center.

The behavior is typical for the 31-year-old who frequently rescues reptiles.

"My wife tells me I'm going to get myself killed one of these days rescuing animals," he said. "But I feel like I did my own little part this week for helping traffic congestion and saving wildlife."

Dressed to the T


Sammamish Mayor Mark Cross wore a T-shirt to last week's City Council meeting that read, "Turning It Up to 11."

The shirt refers to a line in the 1984 satire film, "This Is Spinal Tap," about the top number on an amplifier dial. It has evolved to mean "taking something to the extreme."

So why would Cross want to be extreme? He was celebrating Sammamish being named the 11th-best small city in the country by Money magazine. The cities were rated on crime rate, trails, parks and schools.

Making the Web

Tent City 4, the homeless encampment that travels around the Eastside, made Wikipedia, the free and popular online encyclopedia co-founded by Bellevue native Larry Sanger. The item relates the history of the encampment.

One last grin

An Issaquah reader shared this bumper sticker.

"A woman's place is at HOME after she rounds third."

— Washington Women's Baseball Association

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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