Traffic Advisory: Thousands expected for May Day March

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.

Your precious pet is lost — what can you do?

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

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.)

Farmers’ Market vouchers available for seniors

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.

Coco would like to live with you now

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.


UPDATE: FOUND! Missing dog in NW Queen Anne

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

Don’t forget to pay your property taxes!

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

For questions about missing tax statements or other tax payment information, contact King County Treasury Operations through its website at 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.