Nancy Ross knows her competition in photography contests. To see him, she just looks across the dinner table at her husband, Steve Ross...

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Nancy Ross knows her competition in photography contests. To see him, she just looks across the dinner table at her husband, Steve Ross.

The Mercer Island couple have been snapping up honors for their photography, most recently in the Absolut Click photo contest published in American Photo magazine.

“Two envelopes came the same day, one to Steve and one to me,” said Nancy. “His picture of opening day of crew races and mine of a red umbrella were both semifinalists in the contest.”

Not only does competition between the couple stay friendly, but they enjoy working together, discussing what they’re doing and trying to achieve and helping judge which pictures are the best photographs for contests.

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“People are amazed that we work so well together,” Nancy said. “But we find great joy in being friendly competitors.”

Steve is a Web developer and only recently took up photography. Nancy has been in the field for about 10 years and wavers between calling it her hobby or her semi-profession. Her pictures have won honors in Smithsonian and Alaska Airlines magazines.

St. Patrick’s fare

Forget the corned beef and boiled cabbage. Fans of Reuben sandwiches prefer their cabbage served as sauerkraut. And apparently Reuben lovers are abundant.

Just ask Alex Simis. He owns Piccolino Deli in Redmond’s Town Center. Simis has been in the deli business for 15 years, first in downtown Kirkland, then at Totem Lake.

“In that time I figure I’ve served more than 20,000 pounds of corned beef,” Simis said.

When it comes to sandwiches, corned beef and pastrami are mere appetizers. Piccolino’s has served Eastsiders about 80,000 pounds of turkey, 275,000 pounds of beef and, at last count, 300,000 kosher dill pickles.

Toot, toot

It isn’t too late to grow up to be a train engineer. Or a brakeman. Or a conductor who punches people’s tickets. Just volunteer.

The Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie depends on volunteers to serve as the train crew and to help restore the collection of antique rail cars. Volunteers are also needed for more-traditional jobs, such as leading tours and helping with community events.

The museum will hold a Spring Training Bash from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the North Bend Depot, 205 McClellan St. Wannabe volunteers will get a free train trip out of the deal, when everyone rides to the Snoqualmie Depot for part of the training, said volunteer coordinator Sheila Sloan-Evans.

For information on how to become an engineer and blow the train whistle, e-mail or call Sloan-Evans at 425-888-3030, Ext. 204.

All that jazz

Three Bellevue bands hit the right notes at the recent Auburn Invitational Jazz Festival. Tyee Middle School won the middle-school division; the Chinook Middle School jazz band placed third; and the Bellevue High School jazz band II finished second in the high-school division.

“This is an outstanding group of 24 students,” said Tyee band director and teacher Mark Wilbert. “It was a surprise when we won and got to play in the evening concert at the festival with [guest artist] Mike Vax.” Vax is a jazz trumpeter and big-band leader, formerly of the Stan Kenton Orchestra.

Winning doesn’t come easily. The Tyee group practices at 7:30 a.m. four days a week. But the effort was worthwhile, Wilbert said.

“We all had an absolute blast at the festival.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or