A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Entries from November 2011

12-year-old Phinney bass guitar prodigy featured on KING 5

November 30th, 2011 by Doree

Phinney Ridge resident Kaye Gill has been playing bass guitar professionally for two years, starting at the tender age of 11. As she turns 13 this week, she was featured on last night’s KING 5’s “Evening Magazine,” recounting how she came to play with local favorite Verlee for Ransom, back when she was still a student at West Woodland Elementary.

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Tour the new Fire Station 21 at Saturday’s open house

November 30th, 2011 by Doree

The Defenders of Greenwood moved into their new Fire Station 21 a few weeks ago, but their grand opening celebration is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The station will be “out of service” during the open house so fire fighters can concentrate on showing community members around the new station, and let them sit inside the fire truck.

The open house is sponsored by the Seattle Fire Department and Seattle Fire Fighters Union Local 27. They’ll provide refreshments and children’s activities. Up to 2,000 people are expected at the new station, which is at 7304 Greenwood Ave. N.

At the open house, the 12-foot-tall rock and glass sculpture by artist Perri Lynch will be dedicated. Called “Moment to Moment,” the sculpture will be lit by LED lights that will change from a bluish-green when the firefighters are in the station, to a reddish-orange when they are called out.

You can read a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the sculpture on Lynch’s website, and you can read our August feature story on the making of the sculpture here. Lynch says the artwork lighting should be functional by the end of December.

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SDOT replacing broken concrete panels on NW 80th Street this week

November 29th, 2011 by Doree

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will begin this week to replace about a dozen broken concrete panels on NW 80th Street between 6th Avenue NW and 12th Avenue NW.

From SDOT:

Work will begin between 6th Ave NW and 8th Ave NW, and then will move west between 10th Ave NW and 12th Ave NW. Replacing the concrete panels involves three main steps: first, crews will saw-cut the roadway panels to be removed, then demolish the existing roadway, and finally pour new concrete panels. Work will alternate on the north and south sides of the street, and should take a couple weeks to complete in total, depending on weather.

During this work, traffic will be reduced to one lane on NW 80th St with flaggers directing traffic during the day in alternating directions. During non-working hours, temporary stop signs will be in place, and cars will have to take turns. This is like to create traffic congestion, especially at peak commuting times.

This work is being completed as a part of the N/NW 85th St & Greenwood Ave N Paving Projects.

For more information:

  • Call the 24-hour project line at 206-496-9993.
  • Email us at pave_85th@seattle.gov
  • Visit us online at www.seattle.gov/transportation/pave_85th.htm

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Another fundraiser for Ruby Smith’s medical expenses

November 29th, 2011 by Doree

Ruby Smith, the 17-year-old daughter of Couth Buzzard Books co-owner Theo Dzielak, is battling Burkitt’s lymphoma, and the community has rallied to support her family while she undergoes chemotherapy. To help pay her treatment expenses, friends held a musical fundraiser in October. And now others are hosting a music and dance workshop this weekend.

“An Introduction to Middle Eastern Music & Dance Workshop” is a family-friendly class for all ages and abilities. It will be from 1-2:30 p.m. Sunday at MKG Seattle, 10722 5th Ave. NE in Northgate. (MKG used to be located where the new Couth Buzzard is now.)

Organizer Charina Pitzel is a friend of Ruby’s family, and wanted to help out however she could. She asked award-winning Middle Eastern dance performer Elisa Gamal to lead the workshop. Gamal will be accompanied by world music band Hejira. Following the class will be an improv performance by Elisa and Hejira.

Gamal says that Middle Eastern dance is for everybody, including men and children.

“People tend to naturally think that bellydance is just for women, but ‘over there’ everybody does it. (D)ance is a universal language that we all share — a way to express and communicate joy with each other, and the arts of music and dance are a lovely way to bridge cultures.”

The workshop is free, with donations of any amount accepted.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page. And you can listen to a performance by Hejira here.

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Neighborhood news roundup

November 29th, 2011 by Doree

Here’s a roundup of news tidbits from the neighborhood.

The new Made Sewing Studio, at 8408 Greenwood Ave. N., is having a “Friday Night Holiday Shopping” on Dec. 16, where parents can drop off their kids (cost is $30/child) for a few hours so they can craft and play while parents go shopping or out for dinner.

Made is also hosting a “Winter Sew-Cation” during the last two weeks of December, with classes for kids and teens. Classes include: Fashion Design, DIY Animal Factory, Wallet Creation, Messenger Bag, and Leggings/Yoga pants.

All 58 Bartell Drugs locations, including Greenwood at 120 N. 85th St., are collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Salvation Army’s “Toy ‘n’ Joy” drive through Dec. 11.

“The need this year is especially great. While you’re out doing your holiday shopping, pick up a toy for the “Toy ‘N’ Joy” drive to make the holiday season brighter for deserving children,” George D. Bartell, Chairman and CEO of Seattle-based Bartell Drugs, said in a press release. “The generosity and support of our customers over the past seven years has been gratifying.”

Two Greenwood youth are performing in the Northwest Boychoir’s “A Festival of Lessons & Carols” at nine concerts from Dec. 9-21.

Juan Hillon, 10, and Madeleine Zeiler, 13, are part of the 90-member combined chorus of the Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint! Seattle.

Patterned after the Christmas Eve observance at King’s College in Cambridge, England, A Festival of Lessons & Carols has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families in the Puget Sound region. This classical performance consists of nine holiday readings, each followed by a traditional carol performed by the choir, and another carol sung by the choir and audience.

Photo courtesy of Northwest Boychoir.

The closest performance to our neighborhood is at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18 at St. Alphonsus Church, 5816 15th Ave. NW. in Ballard. Tickets for reserved seating at $24 for adults, $19 for seniors, and $14 for students. Check out the website for the full performance schedule. Advance tickets are available through the Northwest Choirs at 206-524-3234 or online at www.nwchoirs.org.

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Neighbors join forces to build community gathering place

November 28th, 2011 by Doree

By Mwiza Kalisa, Next Door Media Intern

Three years ago Briana Barrett moved into an apartment in the South end of Phinney Ridge, an area neighbors have called “SoZoo” (South of Zoo) for a decade. Pregnant and far away from home, she was eager to collaborate with neighbors on a project that would bring her community together.

With the help of five families, Barrett transformed her garage into a clubhouse. The community building project was inspired by her longing to live among neighbors with varied interests. The clubhouse, equipped with bulletin boards and neighborhood maps, hosts workshops and also functions as a research center.

Briana Barrett shows off the new clubhouse.

“I needed to express who I am uniquely, honor my neighbors, and find out how we could work together,” Barrett said.

Wanting to learn more about her community and to connect others, Barrett interviewed neighbors she knew casually. She prepared three interview questions about the neighborhood culture and what neighbors could offer each other. The response was so positive that Barrett gave nine months notice at her job.

“People were so happy that I was asking,” she said. “I love my job but I thought, this is my calling.”

In December 2009, Barrett quit her job as a pre-school teacher to focus on the clubhouse and other community oriented projects. The idea for the clubhouse was conceived after she passed out a survey at an annual Fremont block party, asking neighbors how they wanted to communicate with each other. The options included social media, personal invitation, a gathering place or an Internet site. Fifteen people took the survey and eight attended the first meeting, where they discussed the options.

“We couldn’t conceive of where this gathering place would be,” Barrett said. “People said it was a good idea, but we all shrugged. Within 12 blocks, where would we put a clubhouse?”

After much consideration and a visit from a neighbor who believed it was the best solution, Barrett offered to convert her garage into a clubhouse. The same neighbor couldn’t volunteer, but contributed to the project financially.

“That was visceral, because I was short on money and wondering how I didn’t have more neighbors involved the way she was,” Barrett said.

Barrett had some experience creating community spaces. She took part in a community building workshop through the Pomegranate Center. With new skills and help from volunteers, the gathering place was completed in September. The clubhouse features a family seating area, a mini-library, community pantry and wooden dance floors.

Cassandra Richardson, one of Barrett’s neighbors, said that Barrett shows how having support in the community is important.

“Briana has knocked on every door in this 12-block neighborhood and introduced herself,” she said. “I’ve known more neighbors since I met Briana than in the whole time I’ve been living here.”

Richardson, who has known Barrett for two years, admits that she was skeptical when she first heard about the project. Eventually Barrett’s good intentions and community spirit won her over.

“Briana has made a difference in my life and in other people’s lives,” she said. “I don’t know how to explain it but she’s just a ray of sunshine. Everyone knows Briana and likes her.”

Barrett hopes that other neighborhoods will create similar projects. Her own work was inspired by the SCALLOPS (Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound) movement. She struggled with finances and criticism when the clubhouse was complete, but despite these challenges, Barrett continues to encourage friends who have the same goal in mind.

“I think that a neighborhood is an opportunity to find out what your neighbors’ intentions are and just honor them as you honor your own,” she said.

Today 50 neighbors know about the clubhouse and eight neighbors are scheduled to visit. A grand opening will be planned after the gathering place is introduced to a few individuals. Barrett says that the project has been a gift and through her involvement has recognized that other people have the same unspoken need to belong. She attributes the success of the clubhouse to her neighbors.

“It was the result of those interviews that confirmed to me that this neighborhood and any other neighborhood is very powerful,” she said. “It was worth my time and worth focusing on developing. The success of the clubhouse is due to those five families. Each of them have been as active as they could afford to be and have made an effort.”

Barrett never imagined that her garage would be a place for people to connect. She said that she didn’t expect a clubhouse and that it was only through the help of neighbors that she could fulfill her dream.

“The deepest thing that I learned from this project is a recognition of my hunger for belonging and a fulfillment of my need for community,” she said. “I’ve gotten a feeling of fulfillment that I didn’t have before.”

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Stay-at-home strategy workshops

November 28th, 2011 by Doree

Microhouse architecture and design firm and two partners are offering workshops for seniors on how to “age in place,” as the popular catchphrase goes. The first workshop is from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Brick Building, room 32. The topic is Backyard Cottage for Seniors. Admission is free.

Seeking stay-at-home alternatives? Backyard cottages can provide creative housing options for seniors and their families. Join Microhouse, Ncompass Cottage Company, and Husky Senior Care to learn more about aging-in-place strategies including the design construction and use of backyard cottages. Bring your ideas and questions. After the presentation we will have plenty of time to discuss your project.

For more information or to RSVP, call 206-428-8599, or email info@microhousenw.com.

Their next workshop will be at the PNA Home Design Fair from 12:30-1 p.m. on Jan. 29 (admission to the fair is $6 for PNA members, $10 general); and the third, titled Stay-at-Home Strategies, is from 7-9 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the PNA ($20 PNA members, $25 general).

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Emerald City Orchids adding café to Phinney/Ballard store

November 28th, 2011 by Doree

Emerald City Orchids, at 716 NW 65th St., is adding a café that will offer espresso and lunch. The café will open in mid-December, but there’s an open house from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Emerald City Orchids opened in 2008, and moved into its current location in January 2010, which was the former location of Il Giardino Italian Restaurant. The company distributes more than 500 varieties of orchids.

“I want to provide a home for orchid lovers to dwell while creating an atmosphere for everyone else to see what orchids are about,” Owner Joe Grienauer said in a press release. “There is a culture in the flower and garden community. And believe it or not, there is a culture within the orchid community and we’re certain that if you’re going to find it, it’s right here.”

Emerald City Orchids Café will offer a lunch menu of sandwiches and salads from Molly’s Salads, pastries and desserts from Hiroki, and coffee and espresso from Fremont Coffee Company.

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826 Seattle celebrates its newest book, White House award

November 26th, 2011 by Doree

(Editor’s Note: Sorry for not posting this sooner; I’ve been sick all week.)

Last Sunday, Greenwood’s nonprofit writing and tutoring center 826 Seattle was packed with authors both well-known and maybe soon-to-be-known, and well wishers, as it celebrated its 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and the release of its 2012 edition of the anthology “What to Read in the Rain.”

It was a packed house at 826 Seattle and its fundraising front, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co., located at 8414 Greenwood Ave. N. Photos by Victoria VanBruinisse.

Executive Director Teri Hein said the anthology is the continuation of a project they started a year ago. The first edition of “What to Read in the Rain” can be found in downtown Seattle hotels such as the Hilton, Madison Renaissance, Grand Hyatt, Olive 8, Alexis and Pan Pacific.

Hotels buy the books by the case at a discount, then place them in guest rooms. Guests can read the book during their stay and leave it, or take it with them and get charged on their bill, just like an honor bar item.

“It’s been a fantastic fundraiser for us,” Hein said in a phone interview prior to the party.

Well-known authors such as national 826 founder Dave Eggers sat side by side with young student authors, signing copies at last weekend’s party.

826 founder Dave Eggers, right, signs copies of “What to Read in the Rain.”

Hein and Ballard High School student Meron Kasahun talked about their experience three weeks ago of receiving a national award from First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I have to tell you, it was really awesome,” Hein said. “And it was fantastic to take this student of ours, Meron, with us. She’s been with us since eighth grade and now she’s a senior. She represents the kind of kids we work with here. And Michelle Obama is just extremely accessible. I feel like I would really like her, and she would like me. I was really proud to be able to represent 826.”

Executive Director Teri Hein and Ballard High student Meron Kasahun show off the official White House portrait of them and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Hein said 826 Seattle’s seven years in Greenwood have been a perfect fit, and surrounding businesses have been very supportive. Even their landlord has made improvements to the space above and beyond what would be expected, and has even donated financially.

“I love Greenwood. I love the welcome we received in Greenwood seven years ago when we were looking for a place to be,” she said. “We just felt like this was the place for us.”

And 826 has been expanding, going on field trips and bringing students up from the south end of Seattle. The program is also looking at expanding into other neighborhoods, but Hein said 826 would keep its “world headquarters” right here in Greenwood.

“It really is about creating a place where kids and adults are in this together,” she explained. “We really work hard to create an atmosphere where they want to be. Because, really, everybody wants to learn.”

Update Monday, Nov. 28: Check out the article and photo on Meron Kasahun in this month’s issue of Seattle Met.

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