Kid power may be the deciding factor in Kirkland's Save the Animals campaign. The drive to raise money to help the city purchase the statues...

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Kid power may be the deciding factor in Kirkland’s Save the Animals campaign. The drive to raise money to help the city purchase the statues of bears, bunnies and deer has been adopted by a number of youngsters.

Volunteers are trying to raise $216,000 by April 11 to purchase the statues, whose official names are Mountain Comrades, Close Quarters and Bounding Mule Deer.

One youth, Allison Blair, 10, will perform a benefit concert starting at 5 p.m. today at Park Place Books. The Peter Kirk Elementary School fifth-grader will play the violin. Expect a crowd.

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Word has circulated because another avid youth fund-raiser, Mia Cooledge, has been sending e-mail encouraging people to attend Blair’s show.

“I don’t know her, but I hear she plays the violin very well,” Cooledge said.

Blair said she wants to save the animals because they’ve been a part of her life.

“I remember climbing on the bunnies when I was just a couple years old,” she said. “I just want to help the city get the money to buy them. That’s why I’m playing my violin.”

As of Thursday, $130,000 had been donated, said Joan McBride, deputy mayor.

“We’re getting checks from people in other cities: Woodinville, Bellevue, Redmond and even out of state,” she said. “I’m amazed at the kids who have come forward.”

Even her own teenage son has been adamant that the statues stay in Kirkland. His particular favorite is Mountain Comrades, the bears. When McBride asked why, since there weren’t grizzlies in Kirkland, he replied that the bears are a symbol of life.

“I told him to write a check,” McBride said. “We need everyone’s help if we’re going to save these beautiful statues.”

Perfect form

Francia Russell served as a tour guide Thursday night at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s school in Bellevue. She led one of the three groups of season subscribers through the building on Northeast 16th Street. The open house included a tour of the normally closed-to-the-public facility and a student demonstration of what students learn in each level of class.

Ballet supporter Diane Stark of Bellevue noted that whenever Russell stood still, her feet were always in a traditional ballet position.

Russell, a former dancer, is the co-artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. She gave the tour without once mentioning the official name of the school. Later she explained to the assembled group that she had difficulty saying the name, even though it was a big honor.

The Eastside school is called The Francia Russell Center.

On ice

Bob Oliver never skates on thin ice. The Bellevue DARE officer stays cool when confronted with something that scares many people: classrooms filled with elementary-school and preteen kids.

Tomorrow, that changes. Oliver will literally be on ice at the Seattle Thunderbirds 5:05 p.m. hockey game in KeyArena against Prince George. Oliver will drive his DARE PT Cruiser onto the ice as part of the show between hockey periods.

If you go to the game, check out Oliver’s companion. He usually drives around town with a giant teddy bear in the passenger seat.

One last grin

Employees at Dunn Lumber in Bellevue take turns coming up with tidbits for the store reader board. Currently, the board gives directions to cope in this world.

“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go and duct tape to make them stop.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or