Donate blood at Peet's Coffee in Interbay Saturday

The Bloodmobile is coming to Interbay from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 29 at the Peet’s Coffee & Tea in the Interbay Urban Center, located at 1827 15th Ave West (across from Brown Bear Car Wash).

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All donors can enjoy a free massage from the staff at Magnolia Chiropractic & Massage, who will be there for the entire duration of the blood drive. Donors will also receive free refreshments from Peet’s Coffee. For more information, or to reserve a time propecia price slot, email Walk-ins are also welcome.

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City puts revised parking rates under review

Two weeks ago we reported on SDOT’s announcement that it would be implementing changing parking rates and extended pay hours all around Seattle, including a $0.50 to $1/hour decrease (paired with an increase in pay hours from 6 to 8 p.m.) in Lower Queen Anne. Many around the city, and here in QA, were displeased. And you weren’t alone.

A number of residents and community groups citywide have spoken out against the parking rate changes, particularly in the areas where hikes will push rates to $4/hour. On Monday a collation of local organizations wrote a letter to City Council voicing their concerns and urging them to revisit the methodology behind the rate hikes.

We do not believe that increasing meter rates to $4.00 per hour Downtown, or $2.00 per hour in neighborhoods such as Fremont and the University District, is consistent with the policy objectives established by the City Council nor do we believe the proposed increases are supported by SDOT’s study. Further, charging for on-street parking until 8 pm in some neighborhoods will directly impact many restaurants that bring pedestrian-scale vitality to our business districts.

The results of SDOT’s study demonstrate that occupancy levels in most Seattle neighborhoods fall below the threshold of 78% established by SDOT for a majority of the day. SDOT has indicated that their recommendation to increase rates is based on the occupancy levels at the point in the day when demand is greatest (“peak period”.) Setting all day rates based on the one hour of the day when demand is greatest is the equivalent of the Seattle Seahawks charging Super Bowl ticket prices for regular season games. We believe this approach is fundamentally flawed and will discourage people from parking in neighborhood business districts.

We urge the Council to look closely at the study methodology and the basis for raising rates. The proposed increases in meter rates are not in keeping with the letter or spirit of your policy direction and will have harmful impacts on the viability of small businesses in Seattle. Consider for a moment that under this proposal Seattle would have some of the most expensive on-street parking of any city in the country.

Groups represented in this letter included the including the Downtown Seattle Association, Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Belltown Business Association, Greater University Chamber of Commerce, Washington Restaurants Association, and Seattle Business Association. Read the full letter here (.pdf).

It seems the city was listening to these groups and neighborhoods, many of which would be facing a new $4.00/hour parking rate. According to a report by The Seattle Times, the city is putting these revised rates under review before making them official. From the Times:

At a lunch-time forum at City Hall, Councilmember Tim Burgess said the City Council has asked for a review of a parking study used by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to set the new rates.

Mike Estey, SDOT manager, said staff were “scrubbing the numbers, the data and methodology” in the wake of criticism that the rates would hurt small businesses and were based on peak-occupancy, not typical parking availability.

No word on what changes might be in order and whether or not this affects Lower Queen Anne/Uptown specifically, which was facing decreased rates in the new plan. At least for the time being you can expect parking to stay at the same-old $2/hour rates  at the foot of the hill.

Free tax help at Queen Anne library starts Feb. 2

As tax time approaches, Seattle Public Libraries is once again getting ready to roll out its tax assistance program. The Seattle Public Library, AARP and United Way are teaming up to offer free tax preparation services at 11 branches around town now through mid-April.

The Queen Anne branch, located at 400 West Garfield Street, will be offering free tax help from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday, starting this coming week on on February 2 through April 13. Assistance is offered at a first-come, first-serve basis. No appointments are necessary.
A free, quality, volunteer-run tax assistance, preparation, and e-filing service. The program is operated by the AARP Foundation and the IRS in collaboration with the Seattle Public Library. The service is confidential, there are no membership- or age requirements. Volunteers are IRS-certified. More information
If Wednesday doesn’t work with your schedule, tax services will be offered at the downtown Central Library branch on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and the Ballard branch Mondays and Thursdays. Find more information on when tax help services will be offered at other Seattle Public Library branches here.

Pacific Northwest Ballet to lose 17-year veteran

Ballet dancer Stacy Lowenberg has announced her retirement at the end of this season, ending a 14-year career at Pacific Northwest Ballet in the Seattle Center. Her last show will be June 12, the final PNB performance of the season.

“I think it’s just a good point in time to make a career change,” said Lowenberg. “It’s been an awesome long journey, and I feel humbled that I got the chance to dance this long.”

Lowenberg joined PNB as an apprentice in 1994 and has been dancing for them ever since.

“I’m going to miss it so much, everyone I work with and moving my body all day long and doing something that as a little girl I dreamt of doing.”

Lowenberg, who lives in Fremont with her husband, said she was ready for a change and plans on pursuing different interests, like Pilates and choreography. She began teaching Pilates a few years ago after getting certified and has been working on her own choreography, with seven pieces produced to date. She also plans to take dancing lessons with her husband, which she says she’s never had the energy to do after dancing all day, and to learn to ski, which she’s never been able to do due to the prohibitions of being a professional dancer.

A new work of Lowenberg’s choreography will be shown in the Seattle Dance Project’s upcoming “Project 4,” opening this Friday at The Erickson Theater on Capitol Hill. She will also be dancing in PNB’s performance of Cinderella opening February 4.

From Pacific Northwest Ballet:

Her works have been shown at McCaw Hall, Bumbershoot, Meydenbauer Theatre and on film for the Beijing Olympics. (The Beijing choreography was danced in Seattle before the 2008 Olympics.) Ms. Lowenberg has choreographed for Ballet Theatre of Des Moines, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, PNB Choreographers’ Showcase, and Ballet Bellevue.

Dick’s celebrates 57th birthday with 10-cent sodas

Much like last year, Dick’s Drive-In is celebrating its birthday—its 57th—by offering all Coca-Cola drinks for 10 cents each, at each of its five Seattle-area locations all day on Friday, January 28.

For the sentimental type, the Dick’s chain also put out this memorial slide-show of the restaurant’s history over these last 57 years here in Seattle.

The Lower Queen Anne Dick’s is located at 500 Queen Anne Ave. N. All locations are open from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Lower Queen Anne couple help catch robber

One of our readers wrote in with a report of a robbery that took place on Monday, January 24 at approximately 9:20 p.m. in a Lower Queen Anne apartment building, on W Olympic Place and 1st Ave W. Josh and his wife came home that night to find that someone had broken into their car, which was parked in a secure garage in their apartment complex. The couple acted fast, calling police, and together were able to apprehend the robber. Josh wrote:

We pulled up with our other car right next to it and noticed someone sitting in our driver’s seat in the car. We just ran upstairs (he didn’t know we owned that car as well) and called the police. They showed up and we took them to the garage and he was no longer in the car but we noticed him coming down the stairs and into the elevator (this area requires more security access) while the police were searching around our vehicle. We gestured to the police and told them he was going up the elevator and we (my wife, myself and the police) ran up the stairs to meet him in the lobby but he already booked it out of the building and was nowhere to be seen.  A girl standing outside the elevator said she saw someone leave the building so the police split up in different directions. My wife and I stayed in the lobby and I thought I saw him walking down the curve on Queen Anne Way from the lobby window and I ran outside and told the police and they headed in that direction where they caught him right outside the Piece of Mind smoke shop.

According to Josh, police found the couple’s Pioneer car stereo on the suspect, who he says spend the night in jail. The incident report outlined two felony offenses: residential burglary and possession of stolen property, both of which the suspect completed before being caught.

“The police did a great job of getting to our apartment really quick (like in 2-4 minutes after I phoned 911) and helping us get that guy. They were super helpful and friendly,” Josh wrote. “He also stole another car stereo (not sure if it was from our building)…he probably broke into our car because our rear passenger side window doesn’t close all the way.”

Car prowls are not uncommon in Queen Anne, especially at the foot of the hill, which is closer to downtown and generally has more commuter traffic going through the neighborhood. A look at the Seattle Police Department interactive crime map shows 13 car prowls in the neighborhood in the last week alone. This incident serves as a reminder to keep on the lookout for suspicious activity.