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Entries from May 2011

Nearby: Picnic canceled, OrcaMan, watershed

May 26th, 2011 by Thea

Here are stories making headlines in nearby neighborhoods:

  • Meet Magnolia’s ‘OrcaMan’
  • ‘Old Timers Picnic’ at zoo canceled for lack of funds
  • One Reel reaches $500 4th of July fireworks goal
  • Tickets on sale for Wallingford Garden Tour
  • Learn about ‘native plants in our watershed’
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    Open house on W Thomas Street overpass tonight

    May 26th, 2011 by Thea

    The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is scheduled to begin construction on the West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass, a project designed to improve safety and provide direct access to Myrtle Edwards Park from the Lower Queen Anne area for pedestrians and bicyclists, next month. The project was originally slated to begin in August, but was pushed up after a lawsuit over the project’s schedule, which conflicted with Seattle’s annual Hempfest festival and rally.

    In advance of construction time SDOT is inviting the public to learn more about the project, including information on traffic detours and area impacts throughout the construction period, from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, May 26 in the Elliott Bay Room of Homewood Suites, located at 206 Western Ave W, near the overpass site. From SDOT:

    SDOT project staff will be available to explain design and construction details, and answer questions. There will not be a formal presentation, so participants may show up any time between 5 and 7 p.m. Complimentary parking underneath the Homewood Suites building is available by checking in at the front desk and obtaining a key card to enter the secure parking garage.

    When the overpass is completed it will provide access over the very busy Elliott Ave W and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park. It will also serve as a connection for bicyclists, part of a future Lake Bay Loop – a planned bicycle route that will run between South Lake Union, Seattle Center and the existing bicycle trail in Myrtle Edwards Park.

    The project, part of the Walk, Bike, Ride initiative and funded by the Park Levy I and II, grant funds from the Puget Sound Regional Council and King County, and private donations, is estimated to cost a total of $10 million.

    For more information visit the project website, or review our past coverage here.

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    City plans crackdown on prostitution near Seattle Center

    May 26th, 2011 by Thea

    City officials may soon be cracking down on prostitution activities in the stretch of land just east of Seattle Center – the area known as “The Track” along Mercer between 5th Ave N, Lenora, and Westlake, which has become a prime target for gang activity and recruitment into prostitution, according to a report by SeattleCrime.

    Documents from the City Attorney’s Office, obtained by SeattleCrime, indicate that officials are interested in creating a new Stay Out of Area of Prostitution (S.O.A.P.) zone in the area. From SeattleCrime:

    The S.O.A.P. zones allow courts to require people charged with prostitution to stay out of high-prostitution areas–primarily around downtown–while they await trial or following their release from jail.

    The city already has seven S.O.A.P. zones set up around town. According to the report, officials would remove the zone around E Pine to Pike from 10th Ave to 9th Ave., and create a new zone around The Track, where several gang members involved in pimping young women were arrested last year.

    Staff from the City Attorney’s Office are scheduled to appear in front of a judge to ask for the S.O.A.P. zone expansion on Friday. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. You can read the full story at SeattleCrime.

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    Changes made to Met Market site development

    May 26th, 2011 by Jesus Chavez

    Emerald Bay Equity recently made changes to a submitted land use application for the mixed-use project on the site of the Metropolitan Market.

    As we reported earlier this month, the land use application for the final of four mixed-use projects EBE is planning on the hill would allow a four-story, 112 unit residential building above retail units with parking below ground at 1900 Queen Anne Ave. N. The change in the application calls for 45,120 square feet of retail distributed at ground and below-ground level. The original application planned for 30,000 square feet of retail at just ground level.

    The project is expected to begin sometime in 2012, said Emerald Bay Equity principal Joe Geivett earlier this month.

    The public comment period has been extended to June 1. Information and instructions on public comments for Department of Planning and Development land use applications can be found here, and you can submit comments on this project directly here.

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    Queen Anne squatter arrested for fraud & ID theft

    May 25th, 2011 by Thea

    A 45-year-old woman who has been squatting in a Queen Anne home for the last couple of weeks was arrested by Seattle police on suspicion of fraud and identity theft spanning across multiple states earlier today, according to Detective Jeff Kappel, who published the following information on the SPD Blotter.

    On May 12th officers began investigating a complicated fraud/identity theft/criminal impersonation situation in which a female suspect had attempted to lease a residence using a false name and then managed to occupy it without making any payment.  The residence in question is located in the 2700 block of 5th Avenue West.

    After some investigation SPD officers discovered that the suspect had two felony fraud warrants from Nevada out on her. Officers attempted to contact her at the house but were unsuccessful until, at approximately 7:45 a.m. today, Wednesday, May 25, they located her driving in the alleyway in the 2400 block of 4th Avenue West. The suspect was then taken into custody, at which time “numerous identification documents in different names” were found in her possession.

    The suspect was booked into the King County Jail on Investigation of Criminal Impersonation and Investigation of Fugitive. A preliminary investigation of her local crimes estimates the total financial loss to be over $10,000, according to the report. Seattle Police Fraud, Forgery and Financial Exploitation (FFFE) detectives will be handling an on-going investigation of this incident.

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    Pose your questions to the Mayor tonight

    May 25th, 2011 by Cory Bergman

    Tonight is the monthly “Ask The Mayor” show on the Seattle Channel hosted by C.R. Douglas. If you’ve never seen the show, Mayor Mike McGinn answers questions from the public on a range of topics. In last month’s show, Mayor McGinn said, “I don’t care how people get around. If they choose to drive, they choose to drive. I can’t get my wife out of a car, so I’m not going to try to get other people out of their cars either.” (See last month’s episode here.)

    The show airs live from 7 to 8 p.m. If you have an issue, concern, or question you’d like answered, you can call 206-684-8821, email askthemayor@seattle.gov or Tweet to @SeattleChannel. The show airs on cable channel 21 or online here.

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    Gates Foundation moves into new headquarters, invites community to opening celebration June 4

    May 25th, 2011 by Thea

    After several years of work, construction on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s new Lower Queen Anne headquarters is now complete, and the international philanthropic organization is preparing to kick off operations in its new home with a community celebration on Saturday, June 4.

    Photo courtesy of NBBJ, via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The Foundation is inviting community members interesting in touring the 12-acre campus overlooking the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline to attend the opening reception on June 4, which will go on all day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Due to security and capacity concerns attendees must RSVP for the event beforehand and register for an available one-hour slot during the day in which they will visit the campus.

    Photo courtesy of NBBJ, via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The Foundation will be opening up designated areas on the first and second levels of the North Building for self-guided touring during the reception. There will also be a number of the organization’s local grantees in attendance. Drinks will be served.

    While registration will be available day of, but on a first come first served basis, so prior registration is recommended. Attendees may register for a time slot here.

    Photo ©George White, courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Though the Foundation says it has completed construction on the campus, it should be noted that it still plans to add a third building at an undetermined time in the future to match the organization’s growth and meet any future needs.

    Learn more about the new campus at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website, download the frequently asked questions (.pdf) about the new headquarters, and look for our coverage of the opening reception in the week of June 5.

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    One Reel reaches $500K 4th of July fireworks goal

    May 25th, 2011 by Marina Gordon

    After almost a year of uncertainty, followed by fundraising for the July 4th fireworks at Gas Works Park, event organizer One Reel today announced the $500,000 goal has been reached and Family 4th fireworks show and celebration will go on.

    Interesting note: It wasn’t a Northwest company or person who got One Reel to the goal; instead support bubbled up from Coca-Cola Refreshments – Northwest Region, based in Bellevue. Other supporters include Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Talking Rain, BECU, Charlie’s Produce, Merrill Gardens, Taco Time and Smith Brothers Farms.

    From the press release:

    “Fundraising for the 2011 event began in July of last year, and contributions have come from supporters throughout our region, all with inspiring stories and memories of this Northwest family tradition,” says One Reel Executive Director, Jon Stone. “With true appreciation for the partnership and dedication of the Greater Seattle Chamber, we are glad to put this year’s budget to bed, and look forward to putting on one heck of an Independence Day party for Seattle.”

    Family 4th at Lake Union starts at noon at Gas Works Park (2101 N. Northlake Way) on Monday, July 4. The fireworks show begins at 10 p.m. See all our 2010 fireworks coverage here.

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    Survey: Give your input to Seattle Public Schools

    May 25th, 2011 by Cory Bergman

    Seattle Public Schools is asking for community-input on their Strategic Plan. They have put together a 21-question survey which will close next Tuesday, May 31. “As we are in the mid-point of our 5-year Strategic Plan, Excellence for All, it is a good time to look at our progress and evaluate whether any adjustments are needed going forward,” the top of the survey states. All responses will remain confidential and anonymous. You can take the survey here.

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    The Dept. of Neighborhoods wants to hear from you

    May 24th, 2011 by Thea

    The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods conducting a survey about community outreach and engagement activities and is looking for input from community members. The survey takes between 5 and 15 minutes to complete, depending on your level of community involvement (the more involved you are, the more potential questions there will be).

    In line with its mission of civic participation, the department is asking community members for their feedback and ideas on how it can most effectively provide support to the community.

    You can fill out the survey here any time between now and June 30 to give your feedback.

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    Coe to host ‘Race to Nowhere’ screening May 31

    May 24th, 2011 by Thea

    Queen Anne’s own Coe Elementary and local nonprofit Successful Schools in Action will be hosting a screening of Race to Nowhere, a film about “the dark side of America’s achievement culture” at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, May 31 at Coe, located at 2727 7th Avenue W.

    From the Race to Nowhere website:

    Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

    Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

    Communities around the country are using the film as “a call to action for families, educators and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.” By engaging in a grassroots effort to organize screenings in in schools and neighborhoods nationwide, the filmmakers are hoping to turn the project into a catalyst for education reform–”using the film as the centerpiece for raising awareness, radically changing the national dialogue on education and galvanizing change.”

    Tickets to attend the screening are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door, and are available for purchase here. For more information on the film, check out the Race to Nowhere website.

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    Senator ends effort to reform medical marijuana law

    May 24th, 2011 by Thea

    36th District Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D), issued the following statement today regarding her efforts to reform Washington’s medical marijuana law. Read more about Kohl-Welles ongoing efforts in our past coverage.

    “Regretfully, I have decided not to pursue further attempts this year to strengthen our state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

    “My efforts to make improvements to existing law were motivated by the need to provide qualifying patients with protection from arrest and prosecution and access to a safe, secure and reliable source of the medicine they are legally entitled to use and that has been recommended to them by their licensed health care provider. I also sought to increase public safety and provide a bright line for law enforcement in determining those who are authorized patients, regulated growers and dispensers.

    “Despite having bipartisan support, we were unable to achieve these objectives. By far, this represents the greatest disappointment of my legislative career.

    “Senate Bill 5073, the medical marijuana legislation I originally introduced this session, included many key improvements to the status quo, such as creating a state regulatory system for licensing producers, processers, and dispensaries and protecting patients who voluntarily sign up on a confidential, secure state registry from arrest and prosecution.

    “Unfortunately, around the time the bill passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reinforced its authority to prosecute those involved with commercial dispensaries. As a result, Governor Gregoire vetoed the most substantive parts of SB 5073 out of concern that state employees involved in regulating medical marijuana would be at risk of federal arrest and prosecution. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the situation for patients and their designated providers was exacerbated as a result.

    “While the governor did encourage the Legislature to follow-up with a special session bill, it is apparent there is insufficient time to pass a bill addressing these problems at this time.

    “My original bill was developed over the course of a year, with significant input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including groups representing patients, designated providers, advocates, local governments, state agencies, and law enforcement.

    “But it’s very difficult to develop complex policy—especially with multiple stakeholders—in the course of a 30-day special session. And, unfortunately, in the end, it just was not possible to pass a bill that would address the governor’s concerns, while meeting the needs of patients and local governments in such a limited time frame.

    “The governor also specified that the leaders of the four legislative caucuses agree to move the bill. Unfortunately, that was not possible.

    “In addition to my keen disappointment in not being able to improve access and protections for patients, I also regret our failure to provide cities and counties with the tools they need to regulate dispensaries and grow operations. The attached letter submitted by King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes illustrates the challenges faced by local governments.

    “My most recent attempt to reform the medical marijuana law would have scaled back the proposal to a pilot program giving local governments in counties with populations greater than 200,000 the option of authorizing and regulating nonprofit patient cooperatives. It also would have created a joint legislative task force to make recommendations to the Legislature next December on issues still needing resolution. But, even this proposal failed to receive sufficient support to move forward in the remaining days of special session, mainly due to the overriding focus on the budget.

    “While it is clear this issue has stalled for now, we cannot continue to ignore this issue– it simply will not solve itself. It is clear that the needs of patients and local jurisdictions remain unresolved and will necessitate further legislative efforts.”

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