Pair of seniors celebrate their 95th and 96th birthdays among the clouds

Gwyneth Nightingale, left, and Ginny Smith buckle up for a birthday helicopter ride at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. Judy Smith Courtesy
Gwyneth Nightingale, left, and Ginny Smith buckle up for a birthday helicopter ride at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. Judy Smith Courtesy

It was a birthday to remember for two longtime Gig Harbor residents, as they were able to take to the skies thanks to a friendly stranger.

Gwyneth Nightingale, 95, and (Sound Vista Village resident) Ginny Smith, 96, were celebrating their birthdays at the Hub at the Tacoma Narrows Airport as part of a Bon Appetit club through the American Association of University Women, an organization of which they are both members.

As the group sang Happy Birthday to them, someone in the restaurant took notice. A helicopter pilot who had just landed inquired about the birthday women and offered them a present: A quick ride around the bridge and the harbor.

“It was really a treat,” said Smith’s daughter, Judy, who got to go along for the ride a few weeks ago.

The two women have always been adventurous, Judy said, traveling often when they were young. So when the opportunity to take to the skies on a whim came up, the two women were up for the opportunity.

“At 95 and 96, they were up for an adventure,” Judy said.

Both women are former teachers, and in a small-world-type of connection, Nightingale was Judy’s French teacher at Wilson High School in Tacoma.

The flight was quick and included a trip around the Tacoma Narrows Bridge before landing back at the Hub at Gig Harbor.

Although the pair only got the pilot’s first name, Grant, the women were able to share a special afternoon with him.

Spiritwood at Pine Lake team raises over $2,400 for Walk to End Alzheimer’s


Team Spiritwood Unforgettables, representing Spiritwood at Pine Lake Assisted Living and Memory Care, raised $2,465.35 in September for the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, with overwhelming support from the residents, resident families, staff and the Issaquah community. Through car wash tickets sales, a wine-tasting event and a bake sale, the team more than doubled its initial goal of $1,000. The fight against Alzheimer’s is near to hearts of the Spiritwood community with a number of residents living with diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Former NBA player hopes Des Moines retirement project will be a slam dunk

The Adriana will have 119 senior apartments in five stories.
The Adriana will have 119 senior apartments in five stories.

Brian Scalabrine made millions sinking shots in the NBA for the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

Now Scalabrine is sinking some of that basketball money into a $23 million retirement community that Village Concepts is building in Des Moines. All the apartments will be for seniors earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.

How did the former NBA player become an investor in local senior housing?

Scalabrine played basketball at Enumclaw High School and Highline College in Des Moines before transferring to the University of Southern California. That’s the local connection.

His interest in bettering life for seniors stems from childhood visits to his grandparents’ “not-so-nice” trailer park.

Scalabrine is a friend of Peter Jorgensen, the CFO at Village Concepts. Scalabrine owns a site at 22525 Seventh Ave. S. in downtown Des Moines that he wanted to redevelop, while Village Concepts was looking to expand its portfolio of 15 retirement and assisted-lived communities. The pieces came together.

“Des Moines is an underutilized area on the waterfront that has the potential to be a spectacular place to live,” Scalabrine wrote in an email. “Hopefully this project revitalizes the downtown area and inspires other people, businesses and developers to make this area live up to its full potential.”

The property had a house that was converted to a small office on it. Crews recently demolished it to clear the lot, which is a few blocks from the city’s marina.

The project is called The Adriana, which is a combination of Scalabrine’s daughters’ names: Adria and Elliana.

Stuart Brown, COO at Village Concepts, said they hope to start construction in early November on the 101,427-square-foot building. It will be five stories and have 119 senior apartments when it opens in fall 2016.

Residents will have use of an atrium, social room, media room, kitchen, beauty salon, fitness room and computer room. Each apartment will have its own washer and dryer.

The project team is led by Jeffrey J. Hummel Architects of Seattle. Engineers are CG Engineering of Edmonds and Emerald City Engineering of Mountlake Terrace.

Andy Langsford of Bellevue-based Venture Real Estate Group is one of Scalabrine’s investment partners. Village Concepts also has equity in the project.

Citi Community Capital of Thousand Oaks, California, is the lender and City Real Estate Advisors is the tax credit investor. City Real Estate is based in Indianapolis and has an office in Portland.

Federal Way-based Village Concepts was founded in 1975 to manage properties and consult with owners of assisted-living communities. Brown said they added retirement homes about eight years ago to expand their business.


Village Concepts recognizes executive team for achievements at 2nd annual retreat

The executive team at Village Concepts Retirement Communities headed over the mountains for the second annual corporate retreat at Suncadia Resort for seminars, workshops, and an awards ceremony. Congratulations to Country Meadow Village, Spiritwood at Pine Lake, Mill Ridge Village, Sound Vista Village, Pioneer Village Senior Apartments, Covington Place Senior Apartments, and Riverside East for receiving President’s Awards recognizing your excellence in staff, customer, and occupancy achievement!