News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Entries from April 2010

McDonald School playground to get net climber?

April 30th, 2010 by master

At Tuesday’s meeting to decide the equipment that will be installed at the McDonald School at N. 54th and Latona, the community favored this net climber.

Kathleen Ellsbury, the project manager for this phase of the playground upgrade, told us that “the design subgroup is sorting out some site preparation and budget issues before making a final decision. We would also have to decide on colors for the final structure choice.”

The second choice resembled this structure:

Ellsbury said the exact date of installation won’t be clear until the group Friends of McDonald gets bids on site preparation, but installation will be this summer.

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Fate of Wallingford Playfield wading pool uncertain

April 30th, 2010 by master

Back in January, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Gallagher warned attendees at the Wallingford Community Council meeting that his department faced a $10 million budget cut for 2011, which could mean ending all aquatics programs. That dire prediction has now begun to play, and the future looks murky for the Wallingford Playfield wading pool, which usually opens in late June and serves families through the end of August.

Gallagher, who resigned earlier this week, told KING 5 that 24 of 27 Seattle wading pools could be closed. The only ones he mentioned were likely to stay open are the Green Lake, Volunteer Park, and Lincoln Park wading pools.

Aquatics Manager Kathy Whitman told us that no decision has been made about Wallingford yet:

We are ready to operate the wading pool, but are currently on hold pending budget decisions. I understand that Parks and Recreation has been told to cut $2.5 million before summer which puts the operation of wading pools in question.

I believe that decisions about 2010 will be made by mid-May. Larger cuts are anticipated for 2011 with the Mayor’s budget announced in September and final action by Seattle City Council completed in November.

She encouraged concerned residents to attend the mayor and city council’s public budget hearing on Tuesday, May 4, at the North Seattle Community College cafeteria, or to comment by phone or email. To sign up to speak at the May 4 hearing, arrive at 5:00; the hearing begins at 5:30.

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Aurora Avenue motels in the news

April 29th, 2010 by master

In the past couple of days motels on Aurora Ave. have been making news, for different reasons. Our sister site Fremont Universe has covered the stories.

On Tuesday night, a bank robber was caught at the Marco Polo Motel.

Also on Tuesday four Aurora Ave. motels–which the Seattle City Attorney’s Office say consistently accounts for a majority of police calls out of the “roughly 26 low-cost motels” along that corridor– entered guilty pleas (as corporations) to criminal tax violations in Seattle Municipal Court. Under the terms of the plea agreements, two motels, the Isabella and Italia, will be sold within four months or leased to non-profit groups for use as low-income housing or emergency shelter. Read the whole story on Fremont Universe.

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Recap: Maria Hines on "Top Chef Masters"

April 29th, 2010 by master

Last night Tilth’s Maria Hines competed with four other renowned chefs for $100,000 for her charity, PCC Farmland Trust, and the title of “Top Chef Master.” For those who still want to watch, we won’t spoil the outcome for you. For those who don’t watch TV, don’t have cable, or just want the Hines-related info, read on.

Despite calling herself the “Organic Girl Scout,” Hines said she was still competitive, which she proved in two challenges. For the first challenge, the Quickfire, the chefs had to make a fruit plate. Hines made a three-course meal using fruit: apple soup, grilled figs, and fresh berries with berry mousse. The judges liked her dish but Jody Adams of Boston’s Rialto Restaurant won the challenge.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were supposed to make modern comfort food for the cast and crew of comedy show “Modern Family.” Hines talked about her own modern family: her partner of 10 years and their two dogs. For her dish, she created a twist on trout almondine using salmon with an almond milk sauce, which she called a “slam dunk” and a “home run.”

Hines was first in the serving line for their 125 guests. Both the critics and and guests praised her dish, which she feared was overcooked. When she faced the judges, she said that salmon is a comfort food for a lot of people in the Northwest. The judges called her choice of almond milk smart and very modern, and the whole dish bold and bright and expression of place.

When it came to scoring, the top two were Hines and Toronto chef Susur Lee, who won the challenge with the highest score ever on “Top Chef Masters.” (Alas, Bravo ran an ad for next week’s episode that gave away the winner before he was announced.) In her exit interview, Hines said she’d like to “come back and try it again.” We’d love to see that!

The Bravo site features chef tours of their kitchens. Here’s Hines’ tour of Tilth:

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The Homeless Neighbor

April 29th, 2010 by master

Seattle’s homeless population stretches far beyond downtown. North Seattle residents and businesses are also struggling to deal with the issue. To see how the community is trying to find a balance, we take you to the streets of Ballard for a raw and compelling look at the problem.

The Homeless Neighbor is the third in a series of stories partnering Next Door Media sites with the nonprofit Common Language Project and students of University of Washington’s Entrepreneurial Journalism class. One of the authors of this story is Christian Caple, the editor of our newest neighborhood site U District Daily. We invite you to take a look.

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Prep for the Edible Plant Sale this weekend

April 28th, 2010 by master

The crowd begins to arrive long before the gate opens. By 9 a.m. hundreds of people snake through Meridian Park, and a rumble of excitement runs through the line as it begins to move. No, this isn’t some celebrity appearance, but something much more enticing to many in Wallingford and beyond: the Edible Plant Sale.

This weekend is Seattle Tilth’s biggest event of the year, its annual Edible Plant Sale, where thousands of home gardeners will pick among 70,000 organically, sustainably, locally grown plant starts. The sale is particularly renowned for its selection of tomato plants — more than 50 varieties will be available this year. It’s a good idea to go through the list of available plants in advance to be sure not to miss anything among the throngs.

Seattle Tilth’s site offers a few pointers on the sale:

Bring Carriers. Wagons, boxes, plant flats and friends are helpful to help you carry your plants. We will also be renting plant flats.

Get a Bracelet. Timed entry will keep the entrance flowing smoothly. Beginning at 8 a.m., you can get an appointed time of entry when you pick up a color-coded wristband at the entrance of the sale in Meridian Park. This will help us avoid exceeding the capacity of the space and allow you to enjoy the activities outside of the sale without needing to wait in line.

Sleep In – Come After Noon.
Saturday morning is for the hard core and is quite busy. Come after noon either day for leisurely shopping and avoid the crowds!

Travel Smart. Carpool, take a bus (#44 or #16), or use other alternative transportation. See directions. You can park in the neighborhood around Meridian Park, but it tends to be busy. North of 50th tends to be less crowded.

Leave the Pooches Home. Because of the high volume of people at the event, dogs are not allowed in the sale.

If you want to avoid the crowds but worry you’ll miss out on the choicest selection, here’s advice from Seattle Tilth’s Communications & Volunteer Manager, Liza Burke:

We will be restocking throughout the day and we also are receiving a final plant delivery on Saturday evening. We tend to run out of hops and some other specific plant varieties (not sure – and it varies each year!), but if people can be a little flexible, we will have an enormous selection (over 50 tomato varieties) and the sale is a great chance to try growing something new.

Volunteers get an invitation to the pre-sale on Friday evening – one of the favorite perks. We still do need some help. Otherwise, the public can purchase tickets to the“Early Bird” Sale for $25 or buy Prepaid Plant Packs.

The sale details:

Sat., May 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sun., May 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Behind the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.

(Photo courtesy of Seattle Tilth and Morgan Van Dyke)

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New zoo entrance and meerkats debut Saturday

April 28th, 2010 by master

Our sister site PhinneyWood covers the Woodland Park Zoo extensively and originally published this story.

Saturday is the grand opening of both the Woodland Park Zoo’s new West Entrance and its new meerkats exhibit. The new West Entrance on Phinney Avenue between North 55th and 56th streets will be much larger than the current one, and will feature more cashiers, a zoo store and restrooms. The North Entrance will be closed, but a new pathway leads from the North parking lot to the West Entrance.

The meerkats are returning after a 10-year absence. They’ll be housed in the revamped Adaptations building.

The meerkat exhibit, presented by U.S. Bank and The Seattle Times, gives visitors an inside look at the animals’ semi-arid savanna habitat. Observe as meerkats scamper into their tunnels, nurse their young, or stand at attention atop the naturalistic outcroppings behaving as sentinels. Kids can play as sentinels and look out for predators, or pop up into a burrow and experience the co-op life, in an all new play area located adjacent to the Adaptations Building. Encouraging full-bodied play, this play area will allow kids to connect with the fascinating lifestyle of these tunneling creatures.

Opening day festivities include live music by CocoLoco, fun meerkat-themed giveaways including magnets, stickers, and temporary tattoos, photo opportunities with a costumed meerkat mascot, a meerkat mask craft and other family activities, and a special meerkat keeper talk.

The grand opening festivities start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the new West Entrance complex. CocoLoco performs until 1 p.m. The meerkat keeper talk is at 2:30 p.m. at the meerkat exhibit inside the Adaptations Building, across from the Pacific Blue Chowder House.

It’s also the first day of the zoo’s expanded summer hours, which are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

(Photos by Ryan Hawk, WPZ.)

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See Maria Hines cook live at TV show taping

April 27th, 2010 by master

It’s an all-Maria Hines afternoon here at My Wallingford! Suzi Wiley, audience coordinator for the KING show “New Day Northwest,” asked us to spread the word about Hines’ appearance on the show tomorrow morning. Here’s how you can attend the free taping:

Tilth Chef Maria Hines will be cooking on our show, New Day Northwest, tomorrow morning and we want to pack the house with her fans!

Seats are free, the show is super fun! Audience arrives by 9:30am and we tape in our downtown studio on Dexter Avenue. They can email and I’ll send back a confirmation!

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Preview Maria Hines on "Top Chef Masters"

April 27th, 2010 by master

Tomorrow night Tilth chef-owner Maria Hines will compete on “Top Chef Masters.” To whet your appetite for the episode, here are a couple of clips that Bravo posted on their site (you’ll have to get past an ad to see the clips). From each group of chefs, two advance to the final round. Hines has the long brunette braid.

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Spend McDonald School playground funds

April 27th, 2010 by master

Tonight the Friends of McDonald School will decide how to spend $37K in funds to improve the playground at N. 54th St. and Latona Ave. — and your input is welcome.

This is the third of three open community workshops and will take place tonight, 7-9 pm, at Green Lake Elementary School. Participants will select specific play structure or structures to purchase and install.

We attended the last meeting, where the general types of structures were chosen.

If all goes as planned, Friends of McDonald will hold two more events open to the public:

  • June 26-27: installation & cleanup, with the help of community volunteers
  • July 17: celebration of improvements

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