Dec 29, 2008

Belated Snow Thoughts

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008551284_snowcleanup23m.html

Our snow-plows have rubber blades and the Police were responding on foot, because their Police cars are rear wheel drive.

Were they bringing rubber-toothed dogs along?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rock_Candy_Mountain

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/bigrock.htm

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, all the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth and the hens lay soft-boiled eggs

Community organizing meeting about school closures

It's really short notice, but I'm hoping you can post a note about tonight's community organizing meeting RE: school closures. This meeting is not dedicated to specific schools, but the district's entire process. I put a note about it at CD news as soon as I heard, and am hoping other neighborhoods can spread the word.

Thanks.
~Nora Wheat

http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2008/12/28/school-closures-organizing-meeting

Organizing Meeting: Educators, Students, & Parents for a Better VISION of Seattle Schools (ESP VISION)
Are you against the school closures? Come join us to plan the next steps in uniting all of the schools together against the closures. We are asking parents, educators, and students from any school -- whether your school is on the chopping block this time or not -- to come with ideas for how we can save our schools and improve public education in Seattle!

When: 6pm, Monday, December 29th
Where: Garfield Community Center (corner of Cherry and 23rd)
Contact: Vicky Jambor (vjambor@msn.com) 206-851-4862

Dec 24, 2008

Touching Christmas stories

(worth revisiting on an annual basis. Think of it as a raunchy "It's a Wonderful Life").

A story in the Christmas 2007 edition of the Stranger, about "The Ups and Downs of Being a Sex Worker During the Holidays", had this touching little story (about a hooker making a Christmas house call):



Some of them were contented loners, just looking to be entertained. But some of them—well, Jae pretty much nails it:

"Sometimes you show up at the guy's house on Christmas and you feel sorry for him, you know? Like there's this sort of Charlie Brown-ish Christmas tree with one present under it, and it's for you."

Now that's sad.

(and that vignette is followed by a long, hilarious account of another house call that you'll just have to read for yourself)




Dec 19, 2008

Mount Zion Baptist Church goes caroling in the streets

Press Release

The Mount Zion Baptist Church
On the corner of 19th and Madison
Rev Aaron Williams, Senior Pastor
Seattle, WA 98121
Phone: 206-322-6500

The Mount Zion Baptist Church will extend it's outreach into the community on December 20, 2008. The Mount Zion Baptist Church Choir will meet in the Church sanctuary at 2pm to tune up and fellowship prior to taking our fellowship into the streets. We will start at the corner of 19th and Madison caroling to the greater community spreading Love, and the Gift of Giving. The Rev Aaron Williams and Choir Director Phyllis Brydwell will lead us as we proceed down the street to 23rd and Union with the spirit of Christmas and Love in our hearts. Clear your calendar and come and join us in keeping with the spirit of Christmas and fellowship. Contact the Church Office at 206-322-6500 or Deacon John A. Capps 206-324-6847 for further details

Dec 17, 2008

Christmas Tree holds it head up high

In December 1998, during my visit to Washington DC, I toured the White House, and bought home a White House Christmas Tree decoration as a souvenir.

At the time the Clinton impeachment hearings were going on, and I hung the ornament on the tree with a certain slight reluctance. Since the 2000 election I have been displaying the ornament on my tree in honor of the building, rather than its resident.

This year I am proudly and prominently displaying the White House ornament on my tree. Come on over and admire it. While you're here you can admire my other favorite ornament, which tells a whole different story.

Madison Street developments

Jim Mueller's Madison Street info meeting

Remember the 1990 snowstorm?

In his blog today, Cliff Mass (U Dub atmospheric scientist) notes:


There is a long history of convergence zone snows in the area...one of the most memorable being the event of Dec 18 1990 when Seattle had a foot and virtually nothing fell at Everett and Sea-Tac airport (my book has a section on this storm). That cz snow was completely unforecast...we di
dn't have the high resolution models we use today.
Our family and neighborhood remember it well. We and our children got off to our respective day jobs (U Dub, Fred Hutch, Leschi and Kimball elementary schools) fine, then it started snowing and snowing.....

I walked from First Hill to Leschi School and my 8 year old son and I walked home through a strangely quiet and deserted Central Area, our feet warm and toasty inside the plastic bags lining our shoes. Our kindergardener daughter was stuck at Kimball all day, and had to eat Fruit Loops, a great topic of subsequent conversation. Her school bus dropped her off on 19th at 10 PM. Fortunately she found her way home (we'd been alerted by phone to await her a block away!).

This excerpt, from page 7 of the Feb 91 Miller Times, relates the events at Meany School and Miller Community Center that day, and the role of the neighbors:
(click on image to enlarge and read)

Dec 11, 2008

Winter weather warning

We here at Seattle Public Utilities are gearing up for the fast moving winter storm that is approaching. Please take a moment to share the attached press release with your constituents. The extremely cold weather will swoop in around midnight Saturday possible dropping into the low teens. This arctic weather could last up to 14 days. So please, get you, your home, your work and your car's emergency prepared kits together.

Patricia (Pat) O'Brien
Strategic Advisor 2
Seattle Public Utilities


Freezing Weather, Snow is in the Weekend Forecast — Get Ready for it Now
Seattle Public Utilities Advises Protect Pipes, Outside Faucets with Insulated Coverings

SEATTLE — With the National Weather Service forecasting freezing weather moving into Seattle late this weekend, Seattle Public Utilities is advising residents of actions they can take to prevent burst pipes and costly repairs.
Seattle Public Utilities says freezing temperatures often results in broken pipes, flooding and damage to private property. That can mean huge repair bills for property owners, well beyond the cost of a plumber’s visit.
And, while that leak is being repaired at your own expense, you might have to go for a while without water.
Here is a list of tips that can help prevent costly damage and repairs to your home—and keep you safe on the streets:
• Prepare your water pipes for cold weather, ahead of time. Shut off outside faucets, drain the water and protect them by insulating them with rags or foam covers. Pipes in exposed or unheated areas (attics, basements and garages) should be wrapped with tape and insulating materials, available at local hardware stores. Drain and remove all outdoor hoses, and shut off and drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
• Once it drops below freezing, protect indoor sink pipes that are against exterior walls, by opening under-sink cabinet doors, allowing heat to circulate. During severe cold, allow the faucet farthest from your front door to slowly drip cold water. Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, day or night (even if you are away).
• Do not leave water running in unoccupied buildings.
• Please don’t use hair dryers to thaw frozen pipes!
• If a water pipe breaks, immediately close the main shut-off valve to stop excessive flooding. If you cannot turn off the main shut-off valve, SPU customers can call (206) 386-1800 and a crew will turn off the water at the meter for a standard service charge.
• In the event of snow, residents are asked to help keep street drains clear by removing snow and other debris — if it can be done safely. As the snow melts, blockages in the gutters or drains will hinder runoff, increase the risk of flooding, and make the morning commute more difficult.
• If an inlet or street drain appears to be blocked by snow or debris, try to safely clear a channel to provide a path for the runoff. If the drain cannot be cleared, or if the cause of the blockage or flooding is uncertain, call Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) at (206) 386-1800.
Heavy rain following closely after heavy snowfall can increase the chance of landslides due to soil saturation that reduces slope stability. Property owners on slopes are advised to clear both drains on their buildings and storm drains near their property. If a landslide damages your property and you have an immediate concern for your safety, leave the premises and call 9-1-1.
Seattle property owners with structures affected by or endangered by a landslide may contact the Department of Planning and Development at 206-684-7899, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., for a rapid evaluation of damage. Such evaluations are not meant to provide a comprehensive assessment, which will need to be completed by a private structural or geotechnical engineer.
Learn more at http://www.seattle.gov/util/

Dec 9, 2008

School Closures: plans for Meany as before

Thanks to the stellar live-blogging by West Seattle Blog, we're already aware of the new list of “potential final recommendations” from the Superintendent. Assorted changes made to other parts of the previously announced "trial balloon" but the story for Meany remains the same.

A quick search of the "potential final recommendations" for Meany reveals:

  • Relocate SBOC (Secondary bilingual) & Nova (alternative High School) to Meany
  • Reassign Meany Central region students to Washington
  • Reassign Meany students from other regions based on home address
  • Rationale for repurposing the Meany building
    • Complies with federal law requiring non-English speaking students have access to typical language peers
    • SBOC and Nova are compatible programs
    • This co-location would give SBOC guidance in becoming an alternative learning experience program
    • Co-locating these programs will benefit both student groups and mayinclude shared learning experiences
    • Responsive to recommendations in recent bilingual review
    • Relocating 1⁄2of Washington APP (students who live in the Queen Anne/Magnolia, North, Northwest and Northeast clusters) to Hamilton allows Central cluster Meany students to attend Washington
    • Relocating 1⁄2of middle school APP mirrors the recommended split of the elementary APP program
Here are links to a letter from the Meany PTA, the original school reshuffling plans, the P-I's live-blogging of the meeting, and the P-I article and Seattle Times article summarizing the meeting

Hubble Christmas


(click on picture for a surprise)

The Boston Globe is presenting this intriguing "Advent Calendar": a different picture from the Hubble Space Telescope every day. And, talking of space and seasonal melodies.....


Dec 8, 2008

Madison Street: Information Meeting, Surveys

  • Jim Mueller's "Twilight Exit" project on Madison has been approved.

  • Jim is having an information meeting about his "Deano's" project on Thursday December 11th from 6:30 PM till 8 in multipurpose room 2 at Miller Community Center. A new rendering of the project will be available at the meeting. There will be food.

  • (and when we're done with the Deano's meeting, the Stranger's blog (The Slog) will be hosting a Happy Hour / gift exchange in the [soon to close/move] Twilight Exit on Madison)


  • As part of my Madison Street revitalization survey this Summer [parking sumary here], I asked for your suggestions for stores we'd like to see on Madison Street. You can look at all the answers, or you might be content with this summary of the 207 suggestions from the 53 people who kindly answered the survey:




I have now prepared a NEW survey for you, to let you all rank the above suggestions for businesses on Madison. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the survey, and I'll pass the results on to Jim Mueller and the othe developers of Madison Street property. Survey closes after December 16th. Many thanks.

(apologies if you tried to take the survey before I fixed my error, at about 11:55 PM Monday. Please try again)

Very local artist has show



For months now my next-door neighbor ( Mark) has been busily casting concrete artwork in his studio, which seems to be his front porch and yard. Now he's having a show at Vermillion, on 11th between Pike and Pine. Show opens this Thursday (6 - 10 PM) and runs through January 4th. Address: 1508 11th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98122 Hours: TUES-SAT 3pm -11pm, SUN - 5-10pm

Stop by to admire his dog heads, saints and other stuff!

Dec 7, 2008

Meany Middle School closing: thoughts from the PTSA

As I'm sure you know the Meany Middle School program is on the block suddenly this year. This is a program that is growing in vitality and faster year to year. I hope you had a chance to attend the Jaguar Arts Festival. More and more families from the neighbourhood are banking on Meany being there for their kids for middle school as a viable option to the overcrowded Washington Middle School.

I don't know how the community feels about Meany really, I know there are some strong supporters, but if you know of people who are supporters could you PLEASE have them write all of the board members and the superintendent IMMEDIATELY. This process is moving very quickly, and if anybody out there is still unclear about how Darwinianism works, they need only to watch what is happening in child/school distribution.

Meany is a vital place for many diverse children and happens to be a safe haven for many at risk kids. We can't all save everyone all of the time, and some of us don't, but Meany has a personal eye on a lot of kids who would otherwise disappear, and probably not make it to 20. If these kids get randomly dispersed, the CD will have a lost a program that is literally saving lives at a time when an unprecedented number of youth are killing one another. It's as easy to buy a gun as it is to buy candy.

Meany has the only arts coach in the district, it has an orchestra that has grown from 13-53 in 5 years under the tutelage of Fred Strom, a full time volunteer retiree of the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra. It has nurtured the growth and huge success of some low income students who would otherwise never have been introduced to music at a serious level. There is one child who is now receiving 3 hours of private lessons donated by members of a chamber group at Seattle University.

We have a student in 7th grade who was awarded one the most outstanding students awards of the year last year. She comes from a very at risk background.

Quietly, Meany is turning the lives of many at risk students around.

Our PTSA is very energetic ( I am co VP ), but we are few, and we are very tired. We could use all of the help any of the Miller Community can offer.

Time is of the essence. The board is voting in January - we were given notice the night before Thanksgiving. I just thought of you this morning as a possible ally.

Can you help, and how?

Please go to www.seattleschools.org website for school board member addresses (they actually read their emails), write to the paper, send out notices to your community and whatever else you can think of. (If you write on their behalf, send a copy to meanypta@hotmail.com . Thanks, Andrew)

We are working fast and hard to come up with viable fiscal options to fill the seats at Meany - a marriage with TT Minor, a marriage with the SBOC from Queen Anne? Summit K-12 with Meany? Any ideas? Right now the school board is suggesting simply dispersing the kids into whatever seats are available, and there actually aren't any in the CD...140 kids from the reference area, and 34 from the 98122 and 98112 zip codes alone.. you don't have to have a PhD to know the numbers don't work. Washington is full, and Madrona not considered a reference school because it's a K-8 - apart from the fact that 100 families left there last year....

Thanks,

Sandy Hirsch, MS CCC
Give Voice
206.718.4387
shirsch58@msn.com
www.givevoice.com

Dec 3, 2008

FREE Holiday Communty Health Day: Saturday

A neighbor writes:

I run The Union Center For Healing with my business partner Vickie and we are having a Holiday Community Health Day at our clinic. Free treatments for everyone. It's a fun thing we are doing for our community. It's Saturday Dec 6th from 11-4 and we will be giving free acupuncture, massage, reiki, naturopathic counseling and waxing from 2-4. If you could post this that would be really great. Our address is below. Thanks, Roxane

Roxane Geller, LAc, LMP
Union Center For Healing
2100 E. Union Street
Seattle, WA 98122
206-409-0566
See this Yelp listing for map and reviews

Dec 1, 2008

AIDS Trees!

Dunshee House has opened its Christmas Tree lots.
Since 1984 Dunshee House – Home of Seattle AIDS Support Group has provided emotional support to those affected by HIV/AIDS, other disabilities, and the LGBTQ Community. 2008 marks the 19th year of our Annual Christmas tree and Holiday Greenery Sale, our biggest annual fundraiser. This annual fundraiser relies completely on the support of volunteers like you for its operation.

Nov 29, 2008

Another Miller Park in the news

Miller is a fairly common last name (more popular than Taylor!). There are several Miller Parks in the world: the second most famous one (after ours) is the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. There is even another Miller Park Neighborhood Association.

You may well be aware of the Seattle Zoo's Zoo Doo program: a clever way to make money by getting the public to pay for the animals' droppings.

Now the Miller Park Zoo in Illinois has gone one better: reindeer droppings as Christmas Tree ornaments. Brings us back to our official neighborhood motto.

Nov 28, 2008

Celebrate the repeal of Prohibition!

Link
"There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn." (Samuel Johnson)

Nov 25, 2008

Proposed changes at Meany Middle School


Tonight's school closure meeting (covered live by the West Seattle blog in a blogging tour-de-force) proposes multiple changes to the Meany School building in our midst:

  • close the present middle school there and disperse the students
  • move the Nova program from the Horace Mann building [near Garfield] to the Meany building
  • move the secondary Bilingual Orientation Program (BOC) from Queen Anne Hill to Meany.
The Seattle Times notes:

One of the more interesting recommendations is for NOVA alternative school to share space with the secondary BOC in the building that now houses Meany Middle.

The hope is that the two programs would give the BOC's immigrant students more opportunity to talk to English-speaking peers, and give NOVA students, many of whom are interested in world affairs, the chance to interact with students from all over the world.

There also are plans to turn the secondary BOC into a school where students stay for their full high-school careers.

(the map from the P-I article, reprinted here, summarizes all the proposals nicely)

Thanksgiving travel advice

Washington State Department of Transportation has its usual very useful predictions about times to travel over the weekend. I believe these are based on historical observations, and not on examination of the entrails of turkeys.

Nov 23, 2008

20th & John through the decades

Inspired by the new CD News "CD Rewind" feature I went poking around in the City photo archives, and found several interesting shots of my house (2009 East John) showing the view before and during the birth of the funny little bush-covered traffic island (the Miller Triangle) where Thomas Street mysteriously turns into John Street (see this Miller Park history for details of origins of street names, etc).

1936: Looking down Thomas towards my house.



1955: Same view, during street straightening and Miller Triangle construction
1955: looking up John, towards Thomas, from 21st Ave E.

Nov 21, 2008

Reminder to stay alert

From the CD News Police log:

11/21/08

5:24PM - 19th Ave E and E Thomas St - Purse Snatch - Woman's purse was stolen. Suspect is a black male, 20s, black coat, blue jeans. He got into a gray Acura last seen Westbound on Thomas

Nov 18, 2008

Worth noting

  • (From the Capitol Hill Yahoo Group) With the leaves falling in mass and the rains starting storm drains start to clog. It is a great time for volunteers to help out by taking
    a few minutes to remove any debris blocking the drains.

    If you find a drain in need of further servicing (I found one yesterday blocked with dirt) then use the form on the Seattle Public Utilities site to report it in for service -- noting location of the problem.

    http://web1.seattle.gov/spu/CRMIQ/ContactSPU.aspx

  • Reminder: Wednesday evening Design Review Hearing for Jim Mueller's redevelopment of the "Twilight Exit" property on Madison.
  • Project Status Report on 2026 E. Madison (the old Deano site)
    Thursday, December 11th, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    Miller Community Center Multipurpose Room#2

    Local neighborhood developer, James C. Mueller, is hosting the meeting to provide a project update. He met with neighbors earlier this year during the Capitol Hill Community Garage Sale and wants to provide a status report. A new rendering of the project will be available at the meeting. Hope you can join us!

    Lis Soldano, Director of Development, JC Mueller LLC


  • Last Broadway Farmers' Market of the year.
  • "Ask the Mayor"
  • Thanksgiving has caused a pile-up of neighborhood meetings in the next week. See Miller Calendar: Capitol Hill Community Council (i.e. local) & Seattle Community Council Federation (i.e. Citywide) both on Thursday.
  • Several other posts on Miller blog: a video ("Tales of an Urban Grocer"), a new website (Central District Neighborhood Plans), and the hope for the end of a puddle.

Watch It Now: Tales of an Urban Grocer

(City Press Release. Steve Shulman was the power behind the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition for many years)

Sneak peek of Seattle Voices interview with Leschi Food Mart’s Steve Shulman; Show premieres Tuesday, November 18, 7 p.m.

SEATTLE — It all started in Russia. Steve Shulman’s grandfather and great uncle made their way from Europe through Ellis Island to Nashville and then Seattle. Once in Washington, they combined their old-world violin with country music and made a living calling square dances and playing the fiddle. “They worked like dogs,” says Shulman. Eventually Shulman’s great uncle started the Leschi Food Mart, the iconic neighborhood store that Shulman owns and operates today.

Shulman started as the butcher in his great-uncle’s store. When he became the owner, he also found he had to become an innovator as he had to fight competition from big-chain groceries that moved in nearby. In addition, he became a community leader, as he helped organize the first partnership between the Seattle Police Department and the Leschi neighborhood. “At the time, the police department was very guarded,” recalls Shulman. The problems in the neighborhood with drug addiction and public safety were too great for Shulman and his allies to fail, however. Working with the police, he learned to the art of public-interest lobbying, first at City Hall and then the State Legislature. Hear about the unexpected twists and turns in the life of an urban grocer on the next episode of Seattle Voices.

WATCH A SNEAK PEEK OF THE INTERVIEW NOW by following this link: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3120868

Join host Eric Liu for this fascinating conversation in its entirety on Seattle Voices, Tuesday night at 7 p.m., SEATTLE CHANNEL, Cable 21 or watch it online at www.seattlechannel.org .

Nov 16, 2008

Central Area Neighborhood Plan websites


Lake Denny Redux


Link
The rains of November have brought the accustomed floods at 21st & Denny, which persist most of the winter and make it so hard to get around that area on foot.

I've communicated with Councilmember Rasmussen's office and with Jim Mueller in the past, with the hope of getting it fixed. They seemed confident that things would happen.

I reminded them of the issues and they replied:

TO: Linda.Moreno@Seattle.Gov; Tracy.Burrows@Seattle.Gov
This is Ann Corbitt in Councilmember Rasmussen's office. The Councilmember has been communicating with the Miller Park neighborhood folks about the attached message for the last 2-3 years. The issue is a drainage problem that turns into a small lake every fall/winter/spring.

We have communicated with folks in SDOT and SPU about this project numerous times. There seems to be some discrepancy about which department owns this problem and who needs to fix it. I would go straight to the staff we have dealt with before, but my archived emails were lost in an unfortunate computer snafu, so I no longer know who I previously worked with.

That aside, each year that we bring this issue to the attention of SDOT and SPU, nothing happens. Councilmember Rasmussen would really like to see this problem fixed so that we don't deal with this one more year. Councilmember Rasmussen understands that there are likely hundreds of these spots around the city, but these neighbors have been working hard on this for too long and they deserve a resolution to the problem, whatever that may be. Councilmember Rasmussen will leave that up to the experts.

Andrew Taylor, copied here, is the main contact for the neighborhood. Please copy him on any responses so that the Miller Park Neighborhood Association can track the progress of this project. And I would appreciate being kept in the loop as well.

I really appreciate your guidance and expertise on this issue. I look forward to hearing back from the appropriate person in either SDOT or SPU on how we're going to fix this.

Thank you,
Ann Corbitt
Office of Councilmember Rasmussen

********************************************

You are right - this is an unacceptable drainage situation. We have been so busy with permits and financing (imagine what that is like these days) that I have not had time to deal with this.

You know it is probably about a $2500 fix, so I am not sure why the City has not done it. There just needs to be a trench from the storm drain to the low spot, a new drain grate and pipe and an asphalt patch for now.

I'll check in with them when I get a chance.

Thanks for the reminder.

--Jim

Nov 9, 2008

Worth Noting

  • Not many blog posts here recently, due to excellent neighborhood coverage on the Capitol Hill Seattle and Central District News blogs. I've taken to posting my more general neighborhood news for the areas North of Madison and South of Madison on those sites.

  • Several interesting meetings soon (details on Miller Calendar) :
    • East District Council (11/10/08): Meet Councilmember Sally Clark, Chair of the Planning/Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee
    • Central District Council (11/13/08): Chat with Councilmember Licata (CORRECTION: he can't attend).
    • Design Review Hearing (11/19/08) for 2051 E. Madison, the "Twilight Exit" site: details.

  • Google Maps now has the Street View feature for Seattle: lets you "drive" around Seattle and look all around you. Much discussion (see comments) about when the pictures were taken and how intrusive it really is. Picture of my house was taken last Fall but that of the Deano's site on Madison was taken during the demolition this Spring, so you can relive the thrill whenever you want to.

  • CNN has recently produced a travel show about Seattle, looking at our city through the eyes of local musician Quincy Jones. There's an accompanying website, with lots of local information (suitable for your visitors) and a video feed to the show. One of the web features is a lovely little essay about Seattle from Central District News blog owner Scott Durham.

I've been repeatedly using the good weather as an excuse for not posting here. Now that the weather's changed (and I've swept up the leaves) I've run out of excuses, and will have to get back to work. Coming soon will be a report on the Miller Playfield Resurfacing meeting, and a report on my Madison Street Survey from this Summer (and a new survey about what stores we'd like there).


View Larger Map

Design Review Hearing for 2051 E. Madison


The Capitol Hill Design Review Board will have a public meeting regarding the proposed project at 2051 E Madison (the Twilight Exit/Oscar's II site, next to Safeway at 23 & Madison). This will be the second (and final?) public hearing on the project.
The proposal is for a six-story building, containing 96 residential units with 6,711 sq. ft. of retail at ground level.

Date: Wednesday, 11/19/2008

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Montlake Community Center
1618 E Calhoun St
Youth Activity Room


Available information about the project:

In brief, neighbors pretty much approved of the original designs last year. Most of the suggestions made back then have, according to Jim Mueller, been incorporated into the revised plans. We'll see on the 19th.

Oct 31, 2008

After you've voted....


Watch the Election Results at The BottleNeck Lounge Tuesday!!



No Cover…………..Doors at 4 PM

Watch the election results with your friends and neighbors over a bowl of warm soup and a frothy pint (or stiff drink, whatever).
Everyone who votes gets a FREE Obama shortbread cookie from Little Rae’s Bakery .
Sorry, but Duke the Resident Pit Bull ate the McCain cookies. Really.
Come join us – we’ve got plenty of champagne on hand!!

Oct 29, 2008

Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting: Nov 5th

(see Andrew's notes at end, and accompanying blog entries)

NEWS RELEASE
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Timothy Gallagher, Superintendent
www.seattle.gov/parks

PARKS TO DISCUSS MILLER PLAYFIELD SURFACE RENOVATION WITH COMMUNITY

Seattle Parks and Recreation will host a public meeting to present and discuss concepts for replacing the existing field surface at Miller Playfield on Wednesday, Nov., 5, 2008 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Miller Community Center.

The project is to upgrade the field surface by replacing the existing all-weather sand/silt surface with synthetic turf similar to the surface at Bob by Morris Playfield. Miller Community Center is located at 330 19th Ave. E.

Planning and design is funded in 2008 and Parks has requested construction funding in the 2009 budget. The community requested this project through the Community Capital Suggestion Process. The public is encouraged to attend and provide direction on the preferred synthetic turf field surface.

The field currently supports soccer and two softball fields, and Parks is considering a request to include field markings for both women’s and men’s lacrosse.

For more information, please contact Ted Holden, Project manager and Senior Landscape Architect, at 206-684-7021 or ted.holden@seattle.gov.
Link
*********Notes by Andrew Taylor**********

In Spring of 2006 I suggested our neighborhood request that Miller be resurfaced, gathered community input, and then submitted this Community Capital Suggestion (together with these pictures). That process (and lots of explanation) is documented on our old website.

At the time I made the suggestion contingent on two issues:

1) setting aside, as a renewable one year test, 5% of scheduled play time for unscheduled neighborhood use, with rules similar to those used at the Queen Anne Bowl.

2) Signage and team/player outreach to encourage parking in the lower Meany/Miller parking lot.

To that I would now add:

3) Install automatic locks on the outdoor bathrooms at Miller (to be locked at 10: 30 PM), to allow their use by players before leaving the area.


I will expand on those ideas in the next couple of posts (see below).

Please come to the Wednesday, November 5th meeting and make your views known. If you can't make it to the meeting you can:
  • E-mail your thoughts to Parks Department Project Manager Ted Holden. (ted.holden@seattle.gov)
  • E-mail them to me, Andrew Taylor (tayles@jps.net) and I'll present them at the meeting.
  • Add them as comments to this post, and I'll present them at the meeting.
Many thanks,

Andrew Taylor

Playfield resurfacing. Idea #1: sharing

(Something to consider at the November 5th Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting)

Resurfacing proposal

This proposal is contingent upon:

Setting aside, as a renewable one year test, 5% of scheduled play time for unscheduled neighborhood use, with rules like those at the Queen Anne Bowl.

Background

Miller Playfield had for many years been the most heavily scheduled ballfield in Seattle: we're centrally located, the field has lights, and parking is relatively easy. Since Bobby Morris (with its Sportsturf surface) reopened, the schedule at Miller has been much lighter. However, when the field is renovated, we can confidently expect that both youth and adult teams will all want to return here.

Some neigbors dream that "we're looking forward to many CHS pick-up soccer games in the future". The field is going to be fully scheduled again, with no free time (except perhaps Sunday evening) unless we do something!

Some years ago, during the field lighting fuss, I visited the Queen Anne Bowl. The neighbors there had brokered an agreement with Parks that gave 5% of the play time on the field for neighborhood pickup use: the available times are posted at the field. Note that the Queen Anne Bowl neighbors have reported that "unscheduled use" can be (and is) used by teams for "informal" practice sessions. They have rules limiting practice to half the field if another team is there.

If pickup play time is something you'd like, we'd better get organized and ask for it at the meeting. Expect strong resistance from the sports leagues on this one.

BTW: I've long wanted a webcam looking out from the Community Center, over the fountain to the field. That would help you see if the field was available for you.

Playfield resurfacing. Idea #2: off street parking

(Something to consider at the November 5th Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting)

This proposal is contingent upon: 2) Signage and team/player outreach to encourage parking in the lower Meany/Miller parking lot.

The lower Miller parking lot (between the school and the Community Center) is owned by Parks, but is traditionally used by Meany School during the day (Seattle does not require its schools to provide parking: we're very lucky). During the evenings and weekends, the 50 space parking lot is typically almost empty (2 or 3 cars at most) while the players' cars spill out all over the neighborhood. During summer Little League games (2 fields, no change-over time) traffic can get very difficult. I've got years of photos to prove this.

Increased density (townhouses) in the area south of the playfield is also making more demands on neighborhood parking.

Players do park in the upper lot at Miller, but that can compete with some of the less mobile user groups at Miller (seniors, kids, developmentally challenged).

Suggestion:

Parks should strongly encourage ball teams to use the lower parking lot when the renovated field reopens. A few obvious strategies:
  • Install signs to direct players to the lower parking lot, via 19th, Republican and 20th.
  • Require leagues to include this information on their websites
  • Require leagues to distribute maps to team members, showing directions to parking lot and indicating the less intrusive on-street parking locations. A couple of prototype maps are shown below.





Playfield resurfacing. Idea #3: bathrooms

(Something to consider at the November 5th Miller Playfield resurfacing meeting)

When we helped design Miller Community Center, I ensured (on the advice of female soccer playing colleagues) that the outside bathrooms be clearly visible from the field.

Unfortunately, the bathroom doors must be locked by the Community Center staff before they leave at ~ 9:30, so are not available for players after games (and they often seem to be locked earlier). This has created problems for players who need to use the bathrooms after games. The issue has been mentioned in The Stranger.

I have suggested in the past (and repeat here) one obvious solution:
The bathroom doors should be automatically locked and unlocked by timers. I've seen this done in parks in Tacoma and Monroe (pictures). Hours could correspond to legal park hours.

When I suggested this before, the drug/prostitution problems from Madison Street were still spilling into the park, and incidents did occur in the bathrooms. Those issues are now history (hurrah!) and we have a new Park Superintendent, so now is the time to implement this simple suggestion.

Oct 26, 2008

Monday: Safeway 4th Anniversary

The Madison Street Safeway opened on October 27th 2004. Robert, who cut the ribbon at the grand opening, is still cheerfully serving us there.


A lot's happened since then.
The Starbucks, whose demise was expected, has indeed closed.

Oct 24, 2008

Celebrate Saint Crispin's Day

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

(Wikipedia) Saint Crispin's Day is the feast day of the Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian (Also known as Crispinus and Crispianus, though this spelling has fallen out of favour), twins who were martyred circa A.D. 286. It falls on 25 October each year. It is a day most famous for battles that occurred on it: the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Pacific theater in 1944, the Battle of Balaklava (Charge of the Light Brigade) during the Crimean War, and the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, dramatised by William Shakespeare in Henry V.

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. So celebrate by buying shoes, reading or watching the Agincourt speech from Henry V.



Oct 23, 2008

Sunday: Bottleneck Lounge event

Kick off Halloween this Sunday, October 26, at The BottleNeck Lounge with Spooktacular Trivia!

Scary questions, pumpkin ale, and hot spiked cider.
Play begins at 7 PM – but come a bit early and grab a table or a spot at the bar.
Bring your own coven or join one at The BottleNeck.
Free to play!
Bonus points to anyone/team that shows up in costume…..



Tuesday: Seattle Neighborhood Summit




Please be there at City Hall the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 28 for the Seattle Neighborhoods Summit! Express your ideas and meet with others who care about Seattle and its neighborhoods. Light supper available throughout. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. with informal networking with other volunteers and with City officials, and the program begins at 6. First on the agenda is a keynote address by the Mayor. Then your choice from fourteen focus groups, repeated twice. The summit ends with a City Council panel interacting with issues and questions from the focus groups.

Please help us publicize this important event, and urge your friends and neighbors to come. It will later be on television and in a written report. Can't come? Send your ideas or questions to the City Neighborhood Council, c/o Department of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle 98124-4649 or cleman@oo.net (206) 322-5463. CNC is a Seattle advisory committee, made up of one representative from each of the thirteen district councils, which are also advisory committees. Free parking, for this event only, is available after 5 p.m. in the commuter lot under I-5 just north of Cherry Street (must enter southbound on 6th Avenue--left turn just before Cherry). For background: http://seattle.gov/neighborhoodcouncil. We welcome requests soon for interpretation in different languages. Below is the program:

5:15 Informal networking with other volunteers and with City officials
6:00 Welcome and introductions
6:10 Keynote by Mayor
6:30 First breakout session (see list of focus groups)
7:15 Second breakout session (same focus group topics repeated)
8:00 City Councilmember panel responds to issues and questions from the focus groups
9:00 Adjourn

The topics of the focus groups are as follows:

(1) Advocacy, community-building, communications, and inclusiveness
(2) Open, participatory, and ethical government
(3) Safety from fire, crime, and disaster
(4) Neighborhood economic development
(5) Neighborhood-friendly utilities
(6) Parks, trees, and community centers
(7) Human, health and housing services
(8) Zoning, land use, design, and planning
(9) Youth and schools
(10) Libraries, the arts, cultural heritage, and historic preservation
(11) Roads, crossings, and sidewalks
(12) Transit and bicycling
(13) Pollution, noise, and public health
(14) Anything missing? This group's for topics not covered above

Oct 22, 2008

Biodegradable plastic bags DON'T

About a year ago I acquired a few of the fancy new corn-based biodegradable plastic bags at a couple of City events. When I was done with them I dropped them in my Green Cone food composter.

You use Green Cones by dropping all your kitchen vegetable waste into them, then let them lie undisturbed for about a year (it's best to have 2 of them) and open them up and take out the lovely moist soil that the food waste has transmogrified into, and put it on your garden!

I opened my Green Cone last week to find that all the vegetables had indeed rotted down to dirt but that (even after a year) the plastic bags were (Drum Roll, yes you guessed it) unchanged and good as new.

I fished the bags out, cleaned them off and photographed them to prove it to you!

Pictures (from the top):



My sample was small: two of one type of bag, and two of another. However, as you can see from the pictures: none of them showed any sign of decomposing, even after a year in intimate contact with rotting vegetables and worms.


The City of Seattle has outlawed styrofoam ware, so venders will be using (and you will be paying for) these supposedly "biodegradable" items.


My question: Are they really any more biodegradable than my seemingly immortal "biodegradable" bags?

Oct 21, 2008

Oct 19, 2008

Worth noting

Oct 16, 2008

YMCA Fall Family Festival (and NO joining fee)

Come join us for our annual Fall Family Festival on October 24th from 5pm to 7pm. There will be free food, plenty of games, activities, face painting, pumpkin painting, swimming, bouncy house, raffle, prizes, and much more. Free to the community! All are welcome.

During the month of October the YMCA of Greater Seattle is waving the joining fee for all members who join during the month of October. Time for some healthy fun. 30 days of classes, programs and a supportive community - all for about the price of a dinner and a movie. Considering the current economic conditions, need to get more for their money. We offer a variety of programs and exercise classes for people of all ages. Come see us about a membership.

Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA
1700 Madison Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 322-6969

Oct 12, 2008

Assault with weapons: 2021 E. John Street

From the Seattle 911 Log:

10/12/2008 9:07:54 PM F080094728 A25 B6 E34 M10 M44 2021 E John St Assault w/Weap 7 per Rule

2021 E. John is CHHIP's Hazel Plaza apartments.

False alarm? Police soon went away. TV truck came and then left immediately.

Explanation comes from CD News consulting their 911 log:

20xx E. John - 9:04pm - "Caller says that her mother has been shot in front of her residence." A bunch of units responded. "She believes that her mother was shot by her neighbor, and she believes that the neighbor was trying to get into her mother's apartment. The mother is out in front of the building."

A lot of police responded - at least 7 different units - and they arrived quickly. Operators tried to call back the complainant but someone kept hanging up on them. Police didn't immediately find a victim in front of the building where the caller originally reported, but made contact with someone in the mother's apartment.

Officer: "We're getting some information that this may not be a real call. Keep looking, but we're getting indication that the complainant may have some mental issues."
Officer: "There's some indication that the complainant said she was shot when it was only her car that was shot."
Operator: "Should we send fire back to the barn?"
Officer: "Affirmative"
Officer: "It appears that this is an unfounded call."
Officer: "We searched her car and found that there's nothing wrong with it."

Oct 11, 2008

Chicks Play Hard: volunteers needed

It's that time of year again, time for Chicks Play Hard. I would appreciate if you would share on the Neighborhood blog that we're gearing up for the big day, Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 AM to 4 PM at Miller Community Center. We are looking for women volunteers, high school age young women who would like to volunteer (and earn community service credit) and participants - girls ages 9 to 13.

Register and learn more at:
http://www.chicksplayhard.org

As additional background, Chicks Play Hard is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization that strives to build self-confidence in girls by providing them with a nurturing environment to try different activities and develop self expression. Girls ages 9 to 13 participate in workshops led by high school students who are, in turn, mentored by women experts. The event encourages the girls to try new and diverse things, learn from positive female role models and-most importantly- have fun.

New activities this year include rock climbing, fire fighter, skateboarding and yoga. Returning favorites include writing, double dutch jump rope and songwriting.

Chicks Play Hard is in its 7th year, and we look forward to sharing this FREE event with the community this year and for years to come.

Sincerely,

Mary Guiden
co-organizer, Chicks Play Hard
206-709-9891
mkgseattle@aol.com

Oct 10, 2008

Seeking Applicants to Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee

Seattle City Council Councilmember Sally J. Clark

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2008

CONTACT: David Yeaworth, Clark Office, 206-684-8802

SEATTLE - Councilmember Sally J. Clark seeks applicants for the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee (NPAC), a body recently created to advise and provide input to the neighborhood plan update process. The City Council is responsible for appointing four of the at-large seats on the 24-member committee, and Councilmember Clark is hoping for a great array of voices with a good mix of neighborhood knowledge, new passion, and a commitment to healthy communities. The application deadline is Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

The City Council recently enacted legislation that begins the neighborhood plans update process, and just as in the 1990’s planning effort, a committee formed entirely of Seattle residents and business-people will advise the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Department of Planning and Development (DPD) regarding how to best conduct the updating process.The NPAC, DON and DPD will strategize how to conduct effective community outreach, engage underrepresented communities and prioritize planning areas. More information about NPAC’s other responsibilities are available on Councilmember Clark’s website. Terms for the NPAC are one or two years.

What: Applicants for the Neighborhood Plan Advisory Committee (NPAC)

When: Applications accepted now through 5 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 15, 2008

Who: Open to Seattleites interested in shaping the process to update neighborhood plans

How: Applications and further instructions available on Councilmember Clark’s website http://www.seattle.gov/council/clark

Oct 9, 2008

East Madison Street News


View Larger Map

I chatted last week with developer Jim Mueller, and Lis Soldano, his development director, about his development plans for the his two projects on East Madison Street.

In brief:

  • he anticipates no delay due to the ongoing national financial crisis.
  • he hopes to start construction on the Twilight Exit site next March. Most of the changes suggested at the Design Review hearings have been incorporated in the plans.
  • construction on the Deano's site will begin in August. He wants to make some "minor amendments" to the design, which will require another Design Review meeting, in late November or December.
  • he's hoping to host a public meeting next month to share his plans and hear our ideas.
The Deano's site probably won't look quite like the models/pictures from the old designs, but will still have a courtyard with an alley entrance. Expect 5 to 6 commercial spaces: say 2 restaurants, a coffee place and (Lis's dream) a spa/wine bar.

(coming soon: a tabulation of your suggestions, from the earlier survey, of our desires for commerce on Madison, and a chance to rank the top 10 or so).

PS: CD News reports that land on which Chester Dorsey's car detailing business sits (on Madison between the Safeway and the Madison Temple) has been sold to developers, and test drillings have been seen.

For s summary of ongong Madison Street developments, check my Madison Street Google map.

Seattle City Budget Issues

OK, so I (and maybe you) missed the first Public Hearing about the City Budget, but there's another one on October 27th. Yes, of course projected revenues are down, and things are being cut right and left. As in the past, City Council will do what it can to move the money around and benefit YOUR favorite issue, IF you make your views known (and if enough others do likewise).

Two items grab me:

1) The perennial attempt to short-change the library. We're a city of readers, it's a great resource and [in tight economic times] it's a source of really cheap entertainment.

Library cuts, restored after a concerted campaign by library fans, seems to be an annual part of the budget pageantry. It'd be easier for everyone if they just funded the place.....

The Stranger gives you all the details.

2) No funds in the budget for the GOTS program. Here's info from East District Crime Prevention Coalition.

As many of you are aware, the GOTS (Get Off The Streets) Program did not make the Mayor’s budget for 2009. If you or any of your organizations feel that GOTS is a critical program for the community, I encourage you to write to, call and/or email all the members of City Council in support of the GOTS Program.

GOTS operates at the corner of 23rd & Union every Tuesday from 1:30PM – 3:00PM. Through the direct street outreach of trained and compassionate staff who are well acquainted with or from the area themselves; individuals who need it most are directly connected with the resources that may save their lives, including housing, drug rehabilitation, mental health resources and more. This service of providing direct resources is in my humble opinion the most important and humane approach to reducing crime – through prevention. It encourages community building, relationships, and allows individuals who have been disenfranchised and marginalized from our society to become productive community members. It is also costs much less than incarceration. After the Neighborhood Drop-in Center on 23rd & Union opened, people who had successfully completed the GOTS Program were hired to maintain the Center, helping the neighborhood, and at the same time building up their work history and credibility.

More information about GOTS is available at: http://www.sngi.org/epcpc/gots-project.html

Also, I have linked to the letter to City Council Member Tim Burgess from the EPCPC in support of GOTS. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. Also, you may contact the GOTS Program Coordinator, Jamila Houston. Jamila can be reached at jamila@sngi.org or at 206.323.9584.

If you feel this issue is of great importance, I welcome you to spread the word about current situation of GOTS to your various groups and contacts; however, I will ask that you please refrain from cutting and pasting this email directly and posting it. It is of course fine if you include both my contact information and Jamila’s contact for questions.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Kindest Regards,
Sita

--
Sita DeGiulio Das
East Program Coordinator

So, please go and testify to City Council on the 27th, or write to them in some manner: see end of Stranger article. Thanks.

Oct 6, 2008

Slide Show, Wednesday: Walking to Alaska!


The daughter of a former colleague describes her remarkable human-powered journey.

Worth noting

Crosscut talks about the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition:

The Seattle Neighborhood Coalition is an informal group of active individuals associated with a variety of Seattle neighborhood organizations. We meet for breakfast on the second Saturday of the month. The organization does not give formal endorsements but rather dedicates itself to free and considered discussions. These discussions often prove to be both influential and foretelling but this is due soley to the individual actions of those attending.

Mayor's 2009 Budget:

Assorted notes: