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Entries from April 2012

Traffic Advisory: Thousands expected for May Day March

April 30th, 2012 by SA

A May Day demonstration for workers and immigrant rights, involving an estimated 2,000 participants, is expected to impact downtown traffic tomorrow. Transit service – and all traffic – in downtown Seattle will likely be delayed during the Tuesday afternoon commute and into the evening. The march will start at Judkins Park at 5 p.m. and will end at the Wells Fargo Building and the Federal Building.

The marchers will travel west on South Lane Street to 20th Place South; north on 20th to South Jackson Street; west on Jackson Street to Fourth Avenue; north on Fourth Avenue to Union Street; west on Union to Second Avenue; south on Second to Marion Street. There could be additional May Day activities in other locations that could also delay or disrupt traffic and transit.

A rally will be held at Second Avenue and Marion in front of the Federal Building and Wells Fargo.

Police Officers will escort the marchers.  Travelers should expect congestion in the area. Second Avenue could possibly be closed during the rally. Bus riders should be prepared for transit service delays – and possible reroutes. This could affect bus service both on surface streets and possibly the transit tunnel.

If possible, people may want to leave work early Tuesday. They should also give themselves extra time to travel through the downtown area. Metro may have to temporarily reroute buses if streets are closed or become blocked.

Metro will be using its Eye on the Metro Commute blog and Twitter account to do its best to keep customers informed about the transit disruptions on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Courtesy SDOT and Metro.

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Your precious pet is lost — what can you do?

April 30th, 2012 by SA

By Ilona Idlis, UW News Lab

Greenwood resident Becky Refae never expected her cat, Sugar, to go missing. After all, the chatty Siamese had been an indoors cat for most of her 11 years and, like a dog, always came when called. But after years abroad, the Refae family returned to Seattle and decided to try to allow their pet a little more freedom. They were reassured by Sugar’s behavior. The kitty stayed close to home during her outdoor ventures and still preferred her indoor kingdom.

So when Sugar didn’t return one night last September, Refae panicked.

“We just couldn’t imagine what happened. Did she get spooked by a raccoon, or follow another cat? Did she get hurt nearby and get disoriented? There were a million scenarios running through our heads,” she recalled in an email.

Refae immediately set to work on the search. She phoned her local veterinarian and the Seattle Animal Shelter, printed up posters and hung them on telephone poles, then walked the neighborhood calling Sugar’s name and straining to hear the familiar meow.

The community board at the Seattle Animal Shelter is
plastered with missing animal fliers. The most effective postings
use large, color photos and bold headings with
memorable descriptions, like “BLACK LAB.”

Her husband decided to expand the search by posting to the PhinneyWood forum. The online response was immediate. Tips and sightings poured in as comments and phone calls. Though the Refaes sped to the mentioned locations, Sugar was nowhere to be found.

“It did keep our hopes,” Refae said. If people were seeing her, she was at least OK.

By the fourth day, Refae wasn’t so sure. Then she got the call. A family living off Aurora Avenue North and North 110th Street — almost 30 blocks away from home — found Sugar trembling under their car. Both of her back legs were broken and she crouched, terrified, unable to move.

Refae rushed Sugar to an emergency animal hospital, fearing permanent damage. Thankfully, a next-day operation and weeks of love and painkillers helped Sugar to a full recovery and the Siamese now bounds around the house with lots of energy and a slight limp.

Becky Refae’s Siamese cat, Sugar, was missing for
four days before a Greenwood family found her hiding
under a car, injured. They used the phone number on
Sugar’s ID tag to contact Refae. (Photo by Becky Refae.)

This story wouldn’t have a happy ending if it wasn’t for Sugar’s collar. The family that found her was outside the mile radius of paper fliers and hadn’t seen the online forum. Instead, it was Refae’s phone number on the cat’s ID tag that proved crucial to Sugar’s rescue.

“Best $10 I ever spent,” Refae concluded.

Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) worker Kara Main-Hefter, too, cannot over-emphasize the importance of pet identification. This means microchips, licenses and collars.

“If you have all of those three things up to date, your animal will get home to you,” Main-Hefter assured. But no amount of posters or postings can help a found animal that can’t be traced to its owner.

The SAS takes in strays daily and the pattern of reunification is telling. Of the 821 stray dogs received last year, over 65 percent were reunited with their owners. Conversely, only 12.3 percent of the 739 found cats made it home. Why?

“Dogs are more likely to have identification,” Main-Hefter explained. “A lot of people believe that cats shouldn’t have to wear collars, but that leaves no way to reunite them.”

Proper identification is a three-step process that can ultimately save a four-legged family member. A grain-sized microchip implanted in an animal’s nape is the first and most permanent form of ID. Most of the time, dogs and cats are tagged at their local shelters and vet’s offices, which makes those locations the default address on the chip.

Seattle Animal Shelter worker Kara Main-Hefter demonstrates
the microchip scanner on Melissa. The grain-sized chips are usually
implanted in the animal’s nape, and just a swipe of the scanner will
pick up the coded number and company information.

Jessica Ancheta of Phinney Ridge Animal Hospital encourages owners to update the microchips with their personal information and phone number. The re-registration process requires a small fee — around $20 depending on the company — but provides a direct route back to the owner.

“If [owners] don’t have the chips registered, it’s keeping [the Animal Hospital] as the middleman,” she explained, which means the company calls the animal hospital first and delays the process.

Pet licenses are the next line of defense. They’re required by law for cats and dogs in the city of Seattle and usually provide the SAS with the most accurate data for its license/microchip cross-reference database. Moreover, license fees directly fund the shelter’s facilities.

“Collars are third on the rung,” Main-Hefter said. “It’s the easiest to use for you and me as normal public citizens, but it’s the most likely to get lost.”

Keeping dogs on leashes and cats indoors are common sense ways of preventing physical escape, but if they fail, the chances of finding your animal are greatly increased by following the guide below.

If Your Animal is Lost:

First, notify and visit the shelter immediately. The SAS is a central location for the area’s found pets and should be the first place an owner checks. This step is particularly important if the animal has no form of ID, as the shelter is only required to hold unidentified pets for three business days before they’re put up for adoption. So, come in person to visually verify your animal and come often.

Second, alert the community. Main-Hefter says online and print postings play an equal part in establishing “a local rescue network,” increasing the number of people looking for your animal. Do both. Post to Craigslist and local blogs, such as PhinneyWood and the Queen Anne View. Print fliers with large, color photos and emphasize key descriptor words, like “CALICO TABBY” or “BLACK LAB.” Hang them in your neighborhood vet’s offices and community centers. Mount your fliers on fluorescent poster boards and pin them by busy intersections. You only have a few seconds to grab drivers’ attention so use bright colors and bold type to convey what’s missing quickly. (For more tips on formatting fliers, visit missingpetpartnership.org.)

This flier is an example of poor formatting. The black and white photo
doesn’t help the viewer recognize a generically colored cat and the type
doesn’t jump out with an immediate description. Since this cat doesn’t
have any identification, like a microchip or collar,
the chances of reunification are slim.

Third, hit the pavement. Walk the streets while calling your pet’s name. Talk with your neighbors. Physically check hiding spots like porches and garages. (This step is particularly important when looking for cats, who tend to hide silently when hurt.) If your animal is hiding nearby, you may need to set up feeding stations with humane traps to lure them home. The SAS can deploy workers to build them.

If You Find a Lost Animal:

Let the animal come to you. Unfortunately, there’s no way to calm a skittish pet. Chasing after a scared dog or cat will only drive it farther from home. Worse, you may get bitten and “that’s a situation no one wants,” Main-Hester reminded.

“If they’re handle-able and friendly, they’re probably just a couple doors away from home,” she added. In that case, try to entice the animal with food and corral it inside a fence. Check the pet for a collar with owner information, as it may be your neighbor’s.

Notify the SAS of your find. If there’s no visible identification, don’t just house the animal. Instead, take it to any local veterinarian or shelter during business hours to be scanned for a microchip. You don’t need an appointment. Check local bulletin boards and online forums for matching descriptions. Finally, if none of these methods yields results, do not hesitate to take the animal to the SAS. The owner will think to visit the shelter, not your house.

Fortunately, the SAS has an excellent adoption record and will find the animal a good home, even if reunification isn’t possible. With 300 available foster homes and large on-site facilities, the shelter never euthanizes for space. In fact, the SAS had a 91 percent “save rate” for all its animals last quarter, placing it in the top ranks nationally.

“We’re really, really proud of it,” Main-Hester said. “’We’re one of the highest municipal shelters in the country and that’s because the Seattle community is absolutely amazing and really cares for its animals, and adopts here first.”

(Ilona Idlis is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. This article is courtesy of our friends at PhinneyWood and seemed timely, given our recent spate of escapees.)

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Farmers’ Market vouchers available for seniors

April 30th, 2012 by SA

Applications are now available for the popular Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, providing low-income seniors with $40 in voucher checks that can be exchanged for fresh produce at farmers markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs throughout King County, including our own Queen Anne Farmers’ Market.

Applicants must be King County residents age 60 or older (age 55 or older if American Indian/Alaska Native) and low-income—below 185 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In real terms, that means someone who meets the age requirement must have an annual income at or below $20,665 (or $1,723 monthly) if he or she lives alone; or $27,991 ($2,333 monthly) if he or she lives with one other person. For larger households, the FPL formula adds $611 per month per person.

“Seattle and suburban cities are fortunate to have a wealth of small farmers markets that provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey,” said Jesse Eller, director of Seattle Human Services Department’s Aging and Disability Services division, the agency that oversees the program in King County. “It’s a great investment in senior nutrition as well as our agricultural economy.”

Applications are available online or by calling the organizations listed below.

·         African American Elders Program: 206-328-6840
·         Asian Counseling & Referral Service: 206-695-7510
·         Chinese Information & Service Center: 206-624-5633 ext 4178
·         Latino Information & Assistance: 206-764-4700
·         Neighborhood House: 206-461-4522
·         Russian Information & Assistance (Irina at JFS): 425-643-2221
·         Seattle Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens: 206-684-0500
·         Senior Information & Assistance 206-448-3110 or 1-888-4ELDERS

Because funds are limited, a random selection process is used to select recipients. Completed applications must be submitted by mail and postmarked by June 4, 2012. All applicants will receive a letter by early July informing them of their status.

A searchable list of local markets can be found on the Washington State Farmers Market Association Web site.

The Queen Anne Farmers’ Market opens June 7, 2012. The following week of June 14, the Market will match SNAP/EBT/WIC/SFMNP redemptions up to $15. per person (capped at $400/day). Any customer redeeming food stamps can have their redemption value doubled up to $15. “We are fortunate to be able to do this because of the support of donations made by our sponsors and our ‘Friends of the Market’ donations,” says Maggie Cuevas of the QAFM.

Any readers who would like to make a donation to keep the market thriving, growing, and able to support important programs like these can become a Friend of the Queen Anne Market by clicking here.

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Coco would like to live with you now

April 28th, 2012 by SA

The Seattle Animal Shelter says this adorable Chihuahua mix gal is sure to steal your heart!

Coco is a sweet 10-pound adult Chihuahua mix who was found as a stray. Although she was very scared at first, she’s blossomed living in a wonderful foster home that provides lots of TLC and attention. Coco will be a truly loyal and loving companion, and she’s a silly girl who is guaranteed to make you smile!

Her ideal family will be kind, patient and understanding of her needs. It should be a calm, adult household where she can relax, play and have fun. Coco does well with the security of predictable routines and really prefers to spend most of her time with a person(s) who will happily spend those hours with her as well. She’s currently living with two cats and a dog, and gets along with them just fine but she would prefer to be your one and only – to be the center of attention.

Coco has some great skills: She’s potty trained if kept on a regular schedule. She sleeps through the night without having to go out. She loves going for walks and is great on leash. And car rides? Loves them! Coco is also a great cuddler and especially likes a nice warm lap to snuggle in. Although a bit reserved and shy when she first meets people, she warms up quickly and makes friends fast! Coco can’t wait to find her perfect forever home! Will it be with you?

Coco (SAS ID #12-3227) is being adored in a Seattle Animal Shelter foster home. If you would like to meet her, download a Dog Adoption Application, and follow the instructions on the application for submission via email or fax. You may also pick up/drop off the application at the Seattle Animal Shelter, 2061-15th Ave. W. (1 mile south of the Ballard Bridge). The shelter is open Wednesday-Sunday from noon-6:00 pm, and closed on holidays.

Coco

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UPDATE: FOUND! Missing dog in NW Queen Anne

April 27th, 2012 by SA

Toby was found and turned in to the Animal Shelter. Thank you, good citizen!

Queen Anne neighbor Graeme reports:

I returned home at lunch today to discover that our 10 year old black and tan Shiba Inu escaped our babysitter’s custody.

His name is Toby, is extremely mellow and well behaved, and has an injury to his back knee so he limps.  He was last seen at the corner of 3rd Ave West and W. Crockett.  He does not have a collar or tags on.

Has anyone seen him or picked him up?

If you have seen Toby, please contact tips@queenanneview.com.

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Don’t forget to pay your property taxes!

April 27th, 2012 by SA

King County property owners have until Monday, April 30 to pay the first half of their 2012 property taxes. After April 30, interest charges and penalties will be added to the tax bill. To make the process easier, King County provides several ways for property owners to pay their taxes quickly and conveniently.

Tax payments can be made:
•  By mail, if postmarked no later than April 30, 2012. Taxpayers should include their tax statement and write the property tax account number on their check or money order. Cash should not be sent through the mail.

• In person at Treasury Operations, King County Administration Building, 500 Fourth Ave., Suite 600, Seattle, 98104, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. On Monday, April 30, Treasury Operations will be open until 5 p.m.

•  At King County Community Service Centers, if paid by check for the exact amount due. Taxpayers can find the address, phone number, and operating hours of the center in their area by visiting the KCCSS web site.

• Online, using King County’s eTax application. Taxpayers may pay accounts with a credit card or an electronic debit from a checking account.

The online option provides immediate payment confirmation for current year or delinquent year(s) property tax bills. To pay online or view property tax information, taxpayers can visit www.kingcounty.gov/propertytax.

For questions about missing tax statements or other tax payment information, contact King County Treasury Operations through its website at www.kingcounty.gov/propertytax or through customer service at 206-296-0923.

Information on senior citizen exemption and deferral programs can be obtained from the King County Assessor’s Office at 206-296-3920.

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Around the town: What to do this weekend

April 26th, 2012 by SA

THURSDAY 04.26.2012
Science Uncorked! Science with a Twist presents the Sixth Annual Dino Wine-Oh!
7-10PM | Pacific Science Center | $20 members/$25 non
Dino Wine-Oh! features exclusively Washington State wineries under the watchful eyes of our resident dinosaurs and all proceeds go to support Pacific Science Center and science education throughout Washington State. Washington Wine Ambassadors will be on hand to provide knowledgeable tasting notes on over 20 Washington wines, including Nota Bene, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Willis Hall, OS Winery, Stomani Cellars and many more!  Enjoy Chardonnay under the stars in the Willard Smith Planetarium, or sip on a Cabernet Sauvignon as you explore the world of Washington wine on the Science on a Sphere exhibit. Light wine accompaniments will be provided to please your palate.

FRIDAY 4.27.2012
Friends of The Seattle Public Library April Mini Book Sale | 9am – 4pm (Sat. & Sun. too)
Warren G. Magnuson Park, Workshop in Building 30
The Friends of The Seattle Public Library will hold their April Mini Book Sale on April 27 – 29. The Mini Sale will be held in a smaller workshop space adjacent to the large hangar, which is not available to the Friends this spring. The Mini Sale will offer about 25,000 items (with continual restocking). Proceeds benefit The Seattle Public Library.

SATURDAY 4.28.2012
Dahlia Tuber Sale | Interbay P-Patch
2451 15th Ave W | 15th Avenue W. and W. Wheeler Street
Great bargains on a wonderful variety of dazzling dahlias, plus tons of advice on how to grow these garden favorites. Tubers sell for $2 each or three for $5. Interbay gardeners divide their favorite dahlia tubers and sell what they don’t need. All proceeds will be plowed back into Interbay P-Patch (along with a little bone meal).

Phinney Neighborhood Preschool Coop Gently Used Kids Sale | 9AM – 1PM
Phinney Neighborhood Center | 6532 Phinney Ave N Seattle 98103
Phinney Neighborhood Preschool Co-Op’s twice yearly sale of gently used, completely amazing kid’s clothing, gear, and toys. Incredible deals on gently used clothing, toys, books, strollers, furniture, gear, maternity wear and more! Grab a tote and line up early at the Community Hall in the brick building for the best selection! Enjoy 50% discounts on many items starting at 12:00pm.

FlorAbundance Spring Plant Sale | 9am – 5pm | Free admission and parking
Washington Park Arboretum | Graham Visitors Center
This magnificent sale, the largest in the Puget Sound region, features dozens of top specialty nurseries and vendors selling a wide selection of choice, locally-grown plants. It’s also a fundraiser for Washington Park Arboretum.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
7:30PM | Adults: $40; Students/Seniors: $35
Seattle Musical Theatre | 7120 62nd Ave NE
Relationships – in all of their humor, depth agony and moments when you can’t laugh for fear that you’ll cry – are what make a life. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change takes on the comedy and tragedy of relationships with a simplicity and truthfulness that will leave you rolling in the aisles with laughter and quietly wiping tears from your eyes. Our production, filled with the style and music from the 1980’s, will inspire you as we explore the meaning of love and relationships.

AC/DC:  Australia’s Family Jewels | April 28, 2012–September 29, 2012
EMP Museum
EMP Museum is proud to be the only North American venue to host AC/DC: Australia’s Family Jewels. Developed and presented by the Arts Centre Melbourne and the Western Australian Museum in association with AC/DC, Albert Music, and Sony Music, this is the first and only fully endorsed exhibition to bring to life the history, creativity, and power of one of the world’s greatest rock bands. The exhibition will feature more than 400 artifacts including photos, instruments, 35 years of gig posters from shows staged around the world, letters, lyrics, and costumes, including an extremely rare Angus Young schoolboy outfit and his 1975 home sewn ‘Super Ang’ costume, complete with gold and red satin cape.

SUNDAY 4.29.2012
The Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business | SIFF Uptown Theatre
$4, SIFF Cinema passes and vouchers are valid at the box office.
It’s sheer Marx Brothers zaniness, as the boys go on a transatlantic crossing where they manage to annoy just about everyone on board the ship, then save the day by rescuing a young girl from an unscrupulous gangster. Highlights include Harpo pretending to be a puppet, Harpo and Chico’s attempts to shave a sleeping barbershop customer, and all four brothers posing as Maurice Chevalier.

AC/DC installation at EMP

Photograph of workers installing the AC/DC Exhibit courtesy EMP

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Bidding on the John Hay Online Auction now open!

April 26th, 2012 by SA

The John Hay Foundation’s annual auction– “Make Our Dreams Take Flight“– raises funds for many vital programs that are no longer funded by the school district. Money raised through this event funds programs for the students, such as art and music education, reading specialists, Sound Partners Tutors, the Pathways program, math intervention tutors, and reduced class sizes at John Hay Elementary.

All of the classroom art is currently displayed at Domani. The auction hosts invite everyone to go and view the art. There are some stunning pieces and all are available for immediate purchase.

Bidding is open through May 4th, at 9:30PM. Pass the word and invite everyone you know to bid on fantastic items and experiences donated by the community and beyond.

The top items right now include a Swanson’s Nursery Gift Card and a year’s supply of bagels from Noah’s, but I’m thinking there’s a hardcore Flashdance fan in Queen Anne to bid on this autographed photograph of Jennifer Beals (courtesy Mail Mann).

Other items that caught my eye:

Dreams Take Flight

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La Luna seeking buyer

April 25th, 2012 by SA

A reader stumbled across an ad on Craigslist, seeking a buyer for “everything… even the name and menu.” La Luna opened on April 15, 2011, in what was previously Flow Lounge.

The posting can be seen here.

La Luna

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Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce Awards announced

April 24th, 2012 by SA

Sponsored by Vulcan, The Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce Sixth Annual Awards Luncheon took place April 19 at the Space Needle. The attendees were delighted by the sneak peak view of Chihuly Studio from above at the sold out event. The GQACC Keynote speaker was Billy O’ Neill, Vice President of Operations with Chihuly Studios

The esteemed Past Presidents Award went to Pat Sobeck, of the Queen Anne Helpline “For 30 Years of Outstanding Service to Our Community.” Ms. Sobeck, the very first volunteer at the Helpline’s dawn in May of 1982, went on to become Executive Director. She is retiring after giving 30 years of service to the Queen Anne Helpline.

Current GQACC president Lauren Formicola, of charley + may co, offered the presentation of the Small Business Award to Queen Anne Dispatch, the Large Business Award to the Marqueen Hotel, and the Non-Profit Community Award to the Queen Anne Food Bank.

The winners:

MarQueen Hotel: Large Business Award
Margaret James, Manager

The Marqueen Hotel graciously hosts the Greater Queen Anne Chamber “After Hours,” hosts the Board Meetings, and donates lodging as door prizes. To the American Cancer Society they donate lodging for cancer patients traveling into town to undergo medical treatment. Along with Make-A-Wish Foundation, they offer lodging to some of these families to help make their wishes come true.

Queen Anne Dispatch: Small Business Award
Sabrina Rinderde, Tara Espinosa, in memory of Jan Paolini

In 1987, Jan Paolini opened her doors to fill a need – a neighborhood mailbox and shipping center. Jan passed away in November of 2011. The business is now owned by her daughters, Sabrina Rinderle and Tara Espinoza, who have expanded into a destination-worthy boutique with an original mixture of locally-made products.

Queen Anne Dispatch  has been involved with Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, in alliance with the Upper Queen Anne Merchant Association and the Queen Anne Community Center. They also support several fundraising events throughout the year. Ms. Espinosa has three children currently enrolled in Queen Anne Schools, and Ms. Rinderde has two children soon to attend.

Queen Anne Food Bank: Community Service Award
Elise Hale, Case Program Director; John Comerford, Board of Directors, President

Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Catholic Church in Uptown, has hosted a food bank for many years. With the support and assistance of Food Lifeline, nearby grocery stores, and the people of the parish, the food bank provided not only groceries, but breakfasts and lunches for the hungry. It operated with lots of great volunteer energy from its community, and a single full-time employee. The monthly budget was only $2500.

Last November, the program ran out of funds, and was forced to close.

Generosity kicked in. Articles about the closure appeared in the Queen Anne/Magnolia News. A television station ran a report. Emails, phone calls, letters, and personal donations poured in. The web posting attracted people to donate from all around the country, but most of the donations came from right here at home. The goal was to raise enough money to fund the organization for two years and they are just about there.

Marqueen Hotel
Lauren Formicola presenting award to Margaret James of the Marqueen Hotel.


Queen Anne Food Bank

L-R: Billy O’ Neill, Lauren Formicola, John Comerford, Elise Hale-Case

Pat Sobek
Pat Sobeck

Winners

Elise Hale-Case, Pat Sobeck, Christa Mcmanamon, Margaret James, Sabrina Rinderle

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Gilman Gardens has plots available!

April 24th, 2012 by SA

Spring is upon us, it’s time to plant! Gilman Gardens, Queen Anne’s self-sufficient community gardens, has three garden plots available, two large and one small.  Gilman Gardens has expanded to include a second 20-plot garden adjacent to the original plot along Gilman Drive W and 13th Ave W.

For more information about the Gilman Gardens, to get involved or get a plot, kindly contact founder Charlie Hoselton.

U.S. Representative Jim McDermott
U.S. Representative Jim McDermott & Charlie Hoselton

fleurs

King County Councilman Larry Phillips
King County Councilman Larry Phillips

more fleurs
Photos courtesy Gilman Gardens

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Rep. Carlyle’s recap of the legislative session

April 23rd, 2012 by SA

State Representative Reuven Carlyle is back from a busy legislative session in Olympia, and he’s sent us a recap of what happened in the last few months in our capitol.

The 2012 legislative sessions are now complete in Olympia and it’s a joy to reconnect with my family and friends in Seattle! While serving as your part-time citizen legislator is a genuine and meaningful honor, it’s also a challenge when we fail to reach agreement on the budget in a timely fashion. My top priority this year was to stop the unwise budget cuts to Seattle schools, University of Washington and other priorities while protecting the core safety net for foster youth, health care and other vital human services.

Here’s a quick overview of the Legislature’s work this year.

Budget

In recent years state revenues have slowed dramatically while demand for public schools and costs of health care soared. Due primarily to our inefficient tax structure, we entered the 2012 session with a projected deficit of $1.7 billion. As a member of the powerful Ways & Means Committee, I have worked hard to prioritize public education and balance the budget responsibly while protecting vital public services such as Basic Health Plan, child care support, public health, and job training. In the end I supported and we adopted a supplemental budget that—for the first time in four years—avoids additional cuts to education. I continue to strive to make meaningful improvements in reducing unnecessary spending and ensuring that we produce a budget that is both morally and fiscally responsible. Here is a link to a table you might find interesting. It shows how negotiations unfolded and the Legislature was able to maintain funding for many of our state’s most important programs in comparison to other budget proposals.

Key Bill Passage

The blessings of marriage

The 2012 Legislature took a profoundly meaningful and historic step forward in the journey for equality by honoring the right of gays and lesbians to celebrate the blessings of marriage. I am proud to have co-sponsored the Marriage Equality bill in the House and join with many legislative colleagues, newspapers, Microsoft, Starbucks and other leading companies to support the marriage rights of all. Assuming the bill survives the expected referendum challenge this November, Washington will become the seventh state to legally recognize the right of gay and lesbians to marry.

World-class Public Infrastructure and Jobs Now!

To take advantage of historically low-interest rates and help jump-start the economy, we crafted a bipartisan “Jobs Now” construction budget to invest in our public infrastructure. From K-12 schools and university buildings and state parks development and repairs, we are investing in vital public buildings and facilities that support everyone’s quality of life. As a legislator I have stood firmly against excessive borrowing for short-term spending needs or operational budgets. In this legislation, the long-term interest rates are low and our investment in public infrastructure statewide is a long term benefit for our state’s 6.8 million people. In the short and long term, this investment will also help generate more than
9,000 jobs in Seattle and statewide.

My 2012 legislation

Supporting Our Kids in Foster Care

Improving the safety, health and education of our state’s 10,000 youth in foster care remains a moral driver of my legislative service. Less than 3% of foster youth ever achieve the dream of a college education while ten times that number will enter our criminal justice system. My dream is to reverse these numbers. I am proud to have taken a big step toward that goal this year with the passage of HB 2254 that reforms, funds and extends the nationally regarded “Passport to College” program that I first crafted as a volunteer citizen activist before my first election in 2008. The program provides outreach, tuition and living support and vital information to foster youth about higher education opportunities.

Open Educational Resources: e-Textbooks

Taxpayers spend a ridiculous $64 million a year (local and state dollars) on K-12 textbooks yet the average age for books in the classroom is ten years old! Textbooks in virtually every Seattle school and statewide are expensive, stale, and academically generic. This session I sponsored and the Legislature passed HB 2337, a bill that helps our state’s 295 school districts easily and affordably access, understand and utilize open source textbooks for one million K-12 students. This high quality, peer reviewed content is based upon Common Core standards and is simple, easy and in most cases free. My hope and expectation is that it will save students and taxpayers tens of millions in the years to come.

Tax Exemptions, Credits and Preferential Rates

This session, I sought to spark a courageous conversation about our state’s lack of fiduciary oversight of the 640 tax preferences, credits and preferential rates. In my view the Legislature has failed to objectively and rigorously examine both the spending and revenue sides of the ledger. Under I-1053, a simple majority of legislators can create a tax exemption yet a 2/3 vote of the 147 legislators to adjust, modify or terminate a tax exemption. I am a party to a legal challenge by the League of EducationVoters to I-1053 because I believe this policy is unconstitutional and assaults the Legislature’s ability to responsibly manage the state’s finances. Among the tax exemption bills I introduced this year, but did not pass:

  • HB 2762 would place an expiration date on over 250 B&O and sales tax exemptions that currently lack one, expressly excluding personal exemptions like food and prescription drugs.This legislation would require virtually all exemptions to expire after ten years on a rolling schedule unless reauthorized by the Legislature. It’s ridiculous that today many exemptions are not even forced to prove that they deliver a return on investment for taxpayers. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue but rather a matter of responsible fiscal sense.
  • HB 2532 reauthorizes, reforms, and resizes the current B&O high-tech research & development tax credit. The bill maintains the credit for small, early-stage technology companies but asks larger companies with revenues over $25 million a year to contribute most of their credit dollars toward producing college graduates in high-demand science, technology, and research fields at the University of Washington and other state colleges.

Community Capital Projects

Each year the Legislature provides funding to a number of construction projects that preserve and promote arts, culture, commerce, and community. This year I am proud to have worked extremely hard to secure $995,000 for the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) to assist with building renovations, repairs and improvements. The PNA is part of the soul of the 36th District and I look forward to strengthening this important community facility for generations to come.

Stay Connected

There is even more information available about the work we have done this session online. Find more details on the state budget and all of the bills I sponsored here. My blog at www.reuvencarlyle36.com remains among the most widely-read site by a legislator in the nation. Please reach out to me anytime and share your thoughts, concerns and priorities. Reuven.carlyle@leg.wa.gov or call (206) 216-3184.

Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Legislature.

Your partner in service,
Reuven

The 2012 legislative sessions are now complete in Olympia and it’s a joy to reconnect with my family and friends in Seattle! While serving as your part-time citizen legislator is a genuine and meaningful honor, it’s also a challenge when we fail to reach agreement on the budget in a timely fashion. My top priority this year was to stop the unwise budget cuts to Seattle schools, University of Washington and other priorities while protecting the core safety net for foster youth, health care and other vital human services.

Rep. Carlyle

Thanks to our friends at MyBallard

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