Dec 29, 2008

Belated Snow Thoughts

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?

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.

~Nora Wheat

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 ( 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 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

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 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 . 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....


Sandy Hirsch, MS CCC
Give Voice

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
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.