Matt Damon and a few friends stopped for drinks and appetizers Monday at the Beach Cafe in Kirkland. The popular actor ("The Bourne Identity,"...

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Matt Damon and a few friends stopped for drinks and appetizers Monday at the Beach Cafe in Kirkland.

The popular actor (“The Bourne Identity,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Good Will Hunting” to name a few) asked to sit up front and enjoy the view, said Allan Aquila, the general manager.

With one exception, folks in the restaurant either didn’t recognize him or held off approaching Damon until he was finished snacking. The lone exception? A photographer — member of the paparazzi — who apparently was following the party.

He was easy to identify, Aquila said.

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The photographer was taking pictures through the restaurant’s front window instead of enjoying the view of Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline. That’s when Beach Cafe manager Sharyn Strandt stepped into the picture and chased the photographer away.

“We try to make sure people aren’t bothered when they’re here,” Aquila said.

Staff protection could only go so far. When Damon and his party were departing, three different groups of guests ran up. They all had the same request: Could they stand with him and take pictures?

Afterward, Damon and company apparently boarded a boat at the Carillon Point Marina to go watch the fireworks in Seattle.

Santa sightings

Reasons to Believe, a Kirkland shop, specializes in handcrafted Santa Claus statues. Store owners and carvers Dennis Brown and Scott Schultz celebrate summer with Christmas preparations.

They’re hosting Santa Fest tomorrow through Sunday, a three-day party that will feature demonstrations from 11 artists.

Brown has pledged 20 percent of each sale of his personal work to the Kirkland Downtown on the Lake organization. The only requirement? You have to whisper the passwords, “I believe in Santa,” when you’re shopping.

Not into Santas? Check out the more than 100 other artists, food and entertainment going on the same time at the Kirkland Arts Center’s SummerFest. Reasons to Believe is at 92 Kirkland Ave. SummerFest will be just around the corner, in Marina Park.

Corny project

Mark this particular service project done and in the can.

More than 50 volunteers recently canned 9,000 cans of corn. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members from Redmond, Carnation, Duvall and Sammamish worked at a Mormon cannery in Kent to process the corn for Hopelink food banks.

The 9,000 cans have already been distributed to Hopelink food banks in Redmond and Carnation. And yes, it is needed. The two sites provided food to more than 1,900 people in June.


Grateful folks often donate to Medic One programs. But a recent donation impressed Bellevue Fire Department spokesman Lt. Bruce Kroon.

Last week, Kroon and four other firefighters/medics attended an appreciation luncheon at Evergreen Court Retirement Community. Executive Director Scott Kimball explained that the residents and staff had held an auction to raise money specifically for the medics and firefighters who respond to Evergreen’s emergency calls.

“We had no idea of the scope of the check,” Kroon said. “We usually get a couple hundred dollars at something like this.”

The check for $3,725 was given with strings: It has to benefit firefighters.

“It went into the Bellevue Firefighters Community Support Organization fund,” Kroon said. “We’re still figuring out how to spend it.”