Sergeant Preston recently reported for duty at Willows Lodge. He has barked no complaints about working at the upscale hotel complex that...

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Sergeant Preston recently reported for duty at Willows Lodge.

He has barked no complaints about working at the upscale hotel complex that includes the Herbfarm and Barking Frog gourmet restaurants along the Sammamish River in Woodinville. Indeed, we should all have it so posh. Preston is the official lodge dog.

From his duty station in the lobby, he greets guests and walks with anyone willing to pick up his leash.

Preston, a chocolate Lab, took over the job from Gus, the hotel’s first official “ambassetdor.” Gus, a basset hound, moved into Willows Lodge in February 2003.

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“Gus retired in February,” said Tom Waithe, general manager of the Lodge. “He developed food allergies, and while we controlled his dinner, we discovered Gus wandered the halls and foraged from the used room-service trays. And hotel guests couldn’t resist giving Gus treats.”

Like Gus, Preston is a rescued dog. The Lab was adopted from a shelter in Chehalis, just hours before his number was up.

It wasn’t easy finding a replacement for Gus. One dog was too young and jumped on hotel guests. Another was too shy. A third required medication for epileptic seizures. Preston, however, is perfect.

“Preston is a kind gentleman,” said Waithe. “He sleeps on a large cushion and goes for walks at least five times a day.”

Even though he checked into the Willows Lodge just a week ago, staffers love him and renamed him Sergeant Preston of the Yukon after a long-ago radio hero.

As for Gus, he retired to a private home near Cottage Lake, where he enjoys watching horses and sheep. Gus will make a cameo appearance at the Washington Basset Rescue Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Bothell. (The party is at Academy of Canine Behavior, 4705 240th St. S.E. For further information go to

Early warning

Watch Snoqualmie this fall during the September primary and November general elections. Nearly the entire City Council and the mayor’s job are up for grabs.

Fuzzy Fletcher, who has been mayor for eight years, announced in March that he wasn’t going to run again. Hard to lose him. He’s so loyal to the town, he sports a tattoo of the city emblem.

Six of the seven council positions will be on the ballot, said City Clerk Jodi Warren. Ordinarily, half would be up for election. This unusual ballot was caused by a combination of events.

Because of the population in Snoqualmie Ridge, two council positions were added and have been filled with temporary appointees. Two more positions will be on the ballot because of resignations. Jay Rodne resigned after being elected to the state Legislature, and Nate Short recently resigned because he moved outside the city. His replacement was expected to be appointed at last night’s council meeting.

The appointees, if they want the job for a full term, must run for office in the next general election.

It gets even more complicated.

Successful candidates elected to the appointed positions will be seated immediately after the election results are certified in November instead of the usual wait until the new year.

Warren anticipates an interesting election. “We’ve had six to 10 applicants for each [appointed] position,” she said. “That’s good and shows there is public interest in serving the community.”

One last grin

Apparently, Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue has good cash karma.

Groups holding benefit events there in 2004 raised $5.6 million, according to the Bellevue Downtown Association folks’ latest “Bellevue Downtown” publication.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or