Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

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Entries from July 2008

Tour Seafair fleet at Pier 90

July 30th, 2008 by Sara

The fleet is in!  It arrives this afternoon and there should be viewing opportunities from Magnolia when they cruise into port.  If you want to go visit and tour the ships, they are just down the road at Pier 90.

Tours start Thursday, and you can see ships from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Canadian Navy.  Wear comfy shoes and be prepared to wait in line, as this is a very popular Seafair event. Here’s the tour schedule:

Thurs. July 31 – Tours of all ships from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Fri. Aug 1 – Tours of all ships from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Sat. Aug 2 – Tours of all ships from 9:30 – 3:30 PM
Sun. Aug 3 – Tours of all ships from 12:00 Noon – 3:30 PM

Ships tours last approximately 30 minutes.  Admission is free but anyone over 16 needs a valid U.S. federal or U.S state government-issued photo ID identification card.  You don’t need reservations.

Here’s the list of visiting ships: the Guided Missile Cruiser USS Princeton, Dock Landing Ship USS Germantown, two U.S. Coast Guard cutters, and ships of the Royal Canadian Navy along with U.S. Navy Cruisers, U.S. Navy Amphibious Ships and Coast Guard Cutters

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When to watch the Blue Angels

July 28th, 2008 by Sara

The Blue Angels are back in town this week for Seafair, and they can be seen from many outlooks around Magnolia. They don’t begin their official flights until Thursday, but you may see them buzzing around before then.

(Cool photo taken from the Space Needle a couple years ago by Jim Purbrick on Flickr.) Here is the flight schedule for those of you who want to see them or just need a little advance warning since they can be pretty loud.

Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m.-12 noon & 1:15-2:30 p.m. (Circle & Arrival Maneuvers to become familiar with the area.)
Friday, August 1: 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Practice Show)
Saturday, August 2: 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Full Show)
Sunday, August 3: 1:30-2:30 p.m. (Full Show)

By the way, did you know that The F/A-18 can reach speeds just under Mach 2, almost twice the speed of sound or about 1,400 MPH?  Impress your friends with that little tidbit.

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Summer festival coming this weekend

July 27th, 2008 by Sara

Make your plans now to attend Magnolia SummerFest and Art Show this weekend. It will be held on Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2.

Summerfest has been the highlight of summer in Magnolia, in one form or another, for over 55 years. The parade has run for over 30 consecutive years.

Throughout the weekend, thousands of people visit the festival to enjoy food, entertainment, the largest children’s parade in Seattle, talent contests and concerts, art vendors and a juried art show. There will also be a sidewalk sale, outdoor movie and baby crawling race. (The 2008 Summer Festival poster was designed by Jennifer Kuhns and will be available for sale at the festival.)

The event runs from noon to 10:00 pm on Friday and 10:30 to 10:00 pm on Saturday. For a full schedule, visit the website at

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History rewritten at Fort Lawton

July 26th, 2008 by Sara

UpdatedSamuel Snow, the Army veteran honored this weekend, died early Sunday at Virginia Mason Medical Center, hours after the U.S. Army awarded him an honorable discharge and apologized for the “grievous wrong,” done to him and 27 other black soldiers more than 60 years ago.

In a moving ceremony attended by over 350 people, the U.S. Army apologized to the families of 28 African American soldiers from Fort Lawton who were wrongly convicted and jailed in 1944.  The case revolved around a riot and murder of another soldier.

Magnolia residents Jack and Leslie Hamann wrote the book American Soil outlining the case.  Hamann and U.S. Representative Jim McDermott led the charge to have the convictions overturned based on the clear evidence that the 28 men were innocent.

Late last year, the Army awarded honorable discharges to each of the men and ordered that their estates be issued back pay and benefits.

The families of seven of the soldiers attended the ceremony that honored their relatives.  Eighty four year old Samuel Snow, one of two known surviving veterans, also came to Seattle but became ill and had to be hospitalized with heart troubles prior to the ceremony today.  His son, Ray Snow, told the crowd that his father holds no animosity and has found forgiveness.

Ronald James, assistant secretary of the Army thanked the families for allowing the Army to partially correct what he called a grievous wrong.

“The Army is genuinely sorry.  I am sorry, said James.

Following the event the crowd enjoyed a free picnic.

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Briarcliff development may begin this year

July 24th, 2008 by Sara

Development could start this year on the 39 homes slated for the site of the former Briarcliff School at the intersection of West Barrett Street and 39th Ave West near the water tower.  Bellevue based Lexington Fine Homes says they have submitted the development plans to the city for review.  Following approval Lexington plans to start construction on the streets and sidewalks along with underground improvements.

“I’m very hopeful that we will have those approvals this summer and will be able to start development this year,” said John Cochenour, Lexington Fine Homes.  “While there are a few more steps in the process, hopefully that would allow us to start home construction next year.”

Cochenour said that prices have not been determined yet and they won’t be available until they are closer to the start of home construction. Lexington primarily builds luxury homes on the Eastside.

The Briarcliff School was closed for a number of years before it was sold by the Seattle School District to Lexington in 2003.  Since then, construction has been delayed as neighborhood groups opposed the project saying it amounts to sticking a dense subdivision in the middle of an older neighborhood of single-family homes.  Critics contend that with so many houses on such small lots there will be traffic problems and congestion.

The Lexington Fine Homes website says they are working with the Hackworth Group Architecture/Planning to create homes that meet today’s homebuyer’s needs, while reflecting the style that is distinctly Magnolia. “Hopefully we’ll be good neighbors during this extended process,” said Cochenour.

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Music in the Park

July 23rd, 2008 by Sara

The Magnolia Community Center Music in the Park series continues on the lawn next to the center.

A free concert is offered every other Wednesday at 6pm.

It’s a great place to take the family for a picnic. The next concerts are set for August 6 and August 20.

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Raise your flag in the crosswalk

July 20th, 2008 by Sara

The busy intersection at Thornydyke Ave. West and West Galer is one of 17 crosswalks in Seattle where the Seattle Department of Transportation is testing these neon colored flags to see if they’ll improve pedestrian safety.

If they work, they’ll be added to the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan.

After watching the crossing for awhile, we saw some pedestrians grab the flag for crossing and others ignore them altogether.

If you have questions about the program, or just want to report that the flags have disappeared, you can contact SDOT at (206) 684-7583, or send an email to

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New playground under construction

July 20th, 2008 by Sara

Catharine Blaine K-8 is getting a new playground this summer. 
The new metal and plastic structure will be ready when school opens. The old play structure was rusted and considered unsafe. The new equipment features bright colors and will have two slides, monkey bars, a suspension bridge and climbing elements. The total cost of the project is around $30,000 and the money is coming from a neighborhood grant as well as the Blaine PTA and Magnolia Community Council.

Volunteers are needed to help get the playground ready. Here is the schedule:

Install new playground equipment: Saturday, July 26, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pour concrete, build wheelchair access: Monday, July 28, 5 to 8 p.m.
Spread gravel and woodchips: Monday, Aug. 4th, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Spread woodchips: Wednesday, Aug. 6th, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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Magnolia Library gets facelift

July 20th, 2008 by Sara

The Magnolia Library at 2801 34th Ave. W. is now open following a 14 month closure for a major expansion and renovation project with a price tag of $4,419,645. It was the last of the 27 projects completed under the city of Seattle “Libraries for All” building program.

The branch grew from 6,356 square feet to 7,799 square feet to include a new meeting room and a small study room. The renovation work included replacing the roof and decayed structural wood and mechanical system components, upgrading technology services, improving electrical, communication and computer connections, and adding energy-efficient window glass.

The original branch, designed by noted Seattle architect Paul Hayden Kirk, is recognized as a quintessential example of Northwest design with distinct influences of Japan. The library has been designated as a landmark building by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board. It first opened in 1964.

Furniture designed by master craftsman George Nakashima was refinished as part of the project. Meyer Wells, a Magnolia furniture shop, made a table and bench for the branch from a salvaged walnut tree, a casualty of the 2006 winter storms.

The branch now has 19 computers for the public (up from 11) and reopened with about 37,000 books and materials. While the branch was closed for construction, the Library added approximately 6,000 new books, DVDs and music CDs for adults, teens and children to the collection.

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New family restaurant open

July 20th, 2008 by Sara

Sisters-in-law Nanette Baker and Jen Young have opened their long-awaited restaurant at 3222 W. McGraw in the Village.  Both women live in Magnolia, and Jen was previously part owner of the Village Pub across the street.

Serendipity is a neighborhood café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The restaurant was delayed by construction issues, but since it opened earlier this month the owners say they have been overwhelmed by the positive response from Magnolia diners.

Serendipity is a casual neighborhood spot with fresh food that is welcoming to families with a large children’s play area.  There is counter service for coffee drinks and gelato and sit down service for lunch and dinner.  A selection of take out meals will roll out soon.  Serendipity also has a beer and wine menu.

The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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