Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

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Winterfest 2015 is bigger than ever

November 24th, 2015 by Sara


Winterfest 2015 is November 28th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There will be many activities in the Village, including roasted chestnuts at Magnolia’s Bookstore. The Bookstore will have two authors signing their latest tomes – Chris Kelly, Italy Invades, from 12 – 2 and Magnolia’s own Kim Darling, Bad Aunty’s Kitchen Smarts, from 3 to 5. Caffe Appassionato will be in the Village pouring samples of their new blend, Summerfest 2016. Specially created by a longtime Magnolia company, this is a fundraiser for Summerfest 2016.

Along with the many fun activities on Winterfest Saturday, merchants are seeking donations for those in need:

Windermere Real Estate                       Coats & Socks
Magnolia Physical Therapy                   Ballard Food Bank
Edward Jones                                          Toys for Tots
shop small

Saturday is also Small Business Saturday. Support our community by shopping Magnolia businesses.  Join your friends & neighbors and Shop Small Magnolia. For every $100 spent at locally owned retailers, $73 stays right here!

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Irate over illegal RVs

November 23rd, 2015 by Sara

By reporter Steven Smalley

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A makeshift dwelling on the corner of 20th Avenue West and West Barrett Street recently caught fire with charred belongings still aside the burned out RV carcass. Neighbors write Magnolia Voice about the numbers of illegal vehicles parked along Government Way, 20th Ave., and Thorndyke. Your assistance is requested.

The following is an edited letter from a reader who calls himself Harley Lever. He asks you to contact the mayor.

Seattle people I need your help!  For the past 8 months we have been struggling to deal with RV Campers illegally camping, dumping tons of trash, emptying their human waste storage tanks, and throwing drug needles all over the area along 20th Ave W and Dravus. Many of these campers are using industrial propane tanks, that are not properly secured, and are an explosion waiting to happen.

We have called the Seattle Police, Parking Enforcement, BNSF Railroad, and the Mayor’s Office. The Seattle Police and Parking Enforcement say that their hands are tied and can only do what the law allows. We have called Ed Murray’s Office, pleading for help, but they never call back.

Our neighborhood crime has skyrocketed. We have story after story of people’s houses being broken into. I have personally watched a pickup truck full of bikes pull up to one of these campers and load them into the underbelly of the RVs. I am not saying all these campers are criminals, but clearly between the needles and the other strange activity I have personally witnessed, there is a percentage of these campers who are.  However, dumping trash is illegal.

Everything came to a head a few days ago when one of these campers caught fire. Luckily, the propane tanks did not explode. I feel bad for the firefighters who were forced to dig through the needle-infested smoldering trash. This is simply unacceptable on many levels.

I am compassionate for the homeless and less fortunate, however even homeless people must abide by laws and not endanger others or create environments that are toxic with human waste and drug needles.

The city could easily designate one of their parking lots as an KOA-style homeless camper park where the campers can properly dispose of their human waste, trash, abide by a no drug policy, and properly rig-up propane tanks.

I ask you to do two things: PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!  Also, if you have the time, PLEASE CONTACT THE MAYOR HERE.

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Seattle Public Schools Deputy Superintendent to leave in January

November 20th, 2015 by Sara

SPS Deputy Superintendent Charles Wright has just resigned.  You can read his full letter here:

Dear JSCEE Staff and School Leaders –

When I welcomed you back at the Summer Leadership Institute in August 2014, I made a personal unspoken commitment to you, our students, and our teachers that I would ensure a smooth transition of day-to-day operations as the interim, and permanent superintendent joined the team.  It was my belief both then and now that remaining in my role during the transition would ensure the continuity of leadership necessary to address some of the structural and systemic challenges that have impeded your efforts to meet the needs of our students, families, and colleagues.

While there is still much work to be done, a smooth transition has, indeed, occurred making now an appropriate time for my departure. Effective January 5, 2016, I am resigning as Deputy Superintendent of the Seattle Public Schools.

As you should know, you are in very capable hands with Dr. Nyland.  He is listening to, and acting upon, many of your best ideas. He has set a tone for central staff to be responsive to our school leaders, families and one another. This tone is healthy and necessary. He is working diligently with the board to achieve a focus on a few key priorities. And, he is working with central staff to create a culture of collaboration, customer service, and systems improvement, including a framework that clearly articulates when and how principals and communities will be engaged in district decisions.

I am proud of the work we have done together since I joined the district in September 2013. This work includes:

  • Establishing the Service Improvement Cycle (SIC), which includes the School Leader Satisfaction survey and focus groups. The SIC elevates school leader voices around the effectiveness of central services.  The survey results have been embedded in the Superintendent Goals for two years, and have also been adopted by the Board as a key metric in the District Scorecard.
  • A focus on improving processes, timeline, and school communications related to the start of school; and bringing visibility to the need to do much more.
  • Creation of the Student Civil Rights Office which will ensure that all of our students have a safer learning environment and supports
  • Chairing the Classification and Compensation Committee and sponsoring the class and comp evaluation intended to help the District remain competitive as well as maintain consistent and fair practices with staff.
  • Being a catalyst for stronger partnerships, which has resulted in enhanced relationships with the Seattle Housing Authority, City of Seattle, City Year, and promising exploration with the Seattle Public Libraries.  The historic Seattle Preschool Program, in partnership with the City of Seattle, is an example of the impact such partnerships can have on the lives of students.
  • Supporting the funding of the Ruler program which provides many of our students and teachers with tools to support social and emotional growth.
  • Directly or indirectly hiring several talented leaders at all levels of the organization, has helped stabilize critical departments such as the Department of Technology Services, Human Resources, School Community Partnerships, Student Civil Rights, and others..

I urge you to continue to take advantage of opportunities to share your questions, concerns, and best ideas during the discussions and decisions that lie ahead. Your input is both essential, and desired, as it will help our schools and central office function as a high-performing team focused on closing opportunity gaps and supporting the 52,000+ student journeys.

As you prepare to work with a new board, more closely with the community, and continue to work with one another to strengthen the system’s ability to support students, I encourage you to read the book The Trust Imperative by Stephen Hacker. Some of you may recall that I mentioned this book to you in September 2014.  It will be an excellent resource as you engage in intentional conversations about re-building trust where you believe it does not exist. The book offers insights and tools to help you understand and build trust across a spectrum of key elements including trust readiness, worthiness and willingness.

It has been an honor and a pleasure working with you to support our students.  I remain impressed with your talents, skills, creativity, resilience, and commitment to our community of schools and students; and I wish each of you continued success and happiness in the future.

There is much work to do before I leave. I appreciate your continued support.

Best regards,


The resignation adds to an already stormy year for Seattle Public Schools, beginning with the teacher strike, the abrupt departure of Queen Anne Elementary’s principal, School Bell times, and Dr. Nyland’s bonus.

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Seattle School Board votes to change bell times in 2016-17

November 19th, 2015 by Sara

The Seattle School Board voted 6-1 tonight to adopt a Transportation Service Standard that would revise arrival and departure times for the 2016-17 school year. The changes to bell times will authorize the superintendent  to implement the cost-neutral plan as recommended by the Board, allowing minor modifications as necessary for implementation.  Additionally, the district reviewed recent community feedback and made the following adjustments:

  • Change #1: Adjust all tiers 5 minutes earlier
  • Change #2: Add a modification that allows the Superintendent to decrease the number of 3rd Tier schools if “actual routing during spring 2016” can adjust schools while maintaining the no cost option.  We will be asking for schools to volunteer to be considered (through the principals) as we realize this may be considered disruptive by school communities and they may not wish to go through this process. Any changes would be announced prior to the end of the school year.

Those start times look like this:

High Schools 8:45am

Elementary 7:55am-9:35am

Middle Schools 8:45am

K-8 7:55am-9:35am

Magnolia’s Catharine Blaine currently falls into the 3rd Tier.

The recommendation reflects Seattle Public Schools’ extensive community and stakeholder outreach over the past year. This is in response to a resolution approved by the School Board in March of 2014 in response to ongoing discussions between School Boards and Superintendents since 2008, around the benefits of shifting to later start times for adolescents.

“We will become the largest district in the country to make this switch, and hopefully we will set a trend,” said Board Director Sharon Peaslee. “This is a historic moment.”

The Resolution directed the Superintendent to determine feasibility, costs, impacts and logistics of shifting to later start times for adolescents, for implementation in the 2016-2017 school year, while continuing to simplify the transportation standards and align them with the Student Assignment Plan. The Bell Time Analysis is the outcome of this directive.

Transportation costs will increase in 2016/17 due to enrollment growth, boundary changes and Special Education program service updates. That amount is estimated to be $182,500.00.

Click here for more information.



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SHARE/WHEEL opens first new city sanctioned encampment tomorrow in Interbay

November 18th, 2015 by Sara

SHARE/WHEEL’s TENT CITY5 Interbay will open its gates at 11 AM tomorrow, Thursday, November 19th at 3234—17th Avenue West, between W Dravus and W Bertona in Interbay (on the “D” bus line).
SHARE/WHEEL says supporters, visitors and helpers are welcome tomorrow and always, and food donations, tents, blankets, sleeping bags and other donations are welcome, and needed.  They’ll be sponsoring a weekend work party at some point in the next few weeks to build tent platforms for the camp, and will announce that separately. From SHARE/WHEEL:
In light of the crisis of 57 outdoor/violent homeless deaths already this year in King County, we’re particularly thrilled and thankful to announce that SHARE/WHEEL’s Tent City5 Interbay will be starting TOMORROW...It’s been a long, hard road to get here, and we continue to be grateful to Mayor Murray for his strength of leadership in creating and seeing out a policy of city-sanctioned encampments.  Beloved homeless community member Stacey Davis, who was murdered in the Interbay neighborhood over the summer, will be in our hearts and on our minds as we build this new camp. We’ll be starting tomorrow with experienced SHARE/WHEEL leaders, and will build the camp up over the next few weeks with donated and purchased materials.
For more info, or if you have questions, please contact the SHARE/WHEEL Office (206) 956-0334 or email Updates also will be posted here and here.
NICKELSVILLE WORK PARTY AT BALLARD SITE 9 AM SAT 11/21:  will also be opening a new encampment (with Tiny Houses), permit dependent, at 9am this Saturday, November 21st at 2826 NW Market Street in Ballard.  More info can be found at their NickelsvilleWorks FB site, or call (206) 450-9136.


Celebrate International Games day at the Seattle Public Library

November 18th, 2015 by Sara

Celebrate International Games Day by dropping in to play board games or video games at six locations of The Seattle Public Library. Most locations will host an event on Saturday, Nov. 21 – the official date for International Games Day:

Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W., 206-684-4089.

  • Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 – Children, teens and adults are invited to drop in and play an array of classic and new board games. Games will include Blokus, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Jenga, Scrabble and more.

Fremont Branch, 731 N. 35th St., 206-684-4084.

  • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 – Teens and adults are invited to drop in and play Netrunner, a collectible card game that combines bluffing and strategy with a cyberpunk theme. Players can use the Library’s core Netrunner decks, or bring their own. Board games will also be available for children.

Magnolia Branch, 2801 34th Ave. W., 206-386-4225.

  • Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 – Children, teens and adults are invited to drop in and play classic board games. Games will include Scrabble, Battleship, Jenga, Clue and more.

Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E., 206-684-7539.

  • 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 – Teens are invited to drop in and play board and video games. Board games will include Exploding Kittens, Apples to Apples, Balderdash, Fluxx, Munchkin, Pictionary, Twister and Zombie Dice. Video games for the Wii and Xbox 360 will include Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Dance Central and Kinect Sports.

Queen Anne Branch, 400 W. Garfield St., 206-386-4227.

  • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 – Children, teens and adults are invited to drop in and play classic and new board and card games. Games will include Munchkin Treasure Hunt, Chinese checkers, chess, Sorry, Clue, Uno and more.

Library events are free and open to the public. No registration is required. Free parking is available at the branches.

For more information, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask A Librarian.

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’tis the season for power outages…are you ready?

November 17th, 2015 by Sara

In the Pacific Northwest, winter storms are common and they often cause power outages.  Seattle City Light crews often work around the the clock in difficult conditions to restore power quickly and safely, and have the following recommendations for how to help in an outage:

To Prepare

  • Have an emergency kit on hand that includes a flashlight with batteries, glow-in-the-dark stick lights, wind-up clock, portable radio, manual can opener and mylar blanket.
  • Also stock drinking water (one gallon per person per day), dry and canned food, first aid materials, prescribed medications and additional blankets.
  • Know how to manually override your electric garage door.
  • If you live in a secured building, know which exit door to use during an outage.


  • Keep trees around wires trimmed. Wind, snow and ice can depress branches and endanger power lines. During storms, expect “bumps” (momentary outages caused by branches brushing against power lines) and outages. For more information, call 206.386.1902 or visit City Light’s Vegetation Management Web page.
  • Unplug sensitive electronic equipment because power surges or outages may be a danger during storms.

During a Power Outage

  • Dress in layers to conserve body heat.
  • Do not use candles as a light source nor any open flame as a heat source.
  • Do not use charcoal briquettes indoors.
  • Close doors, windows, curtains and unused fireplace dampers to keep heat from escaping.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to keep food fresh. A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to six hours; a full freezer for up to two days. Discard at-risk refrigerated foods that are warmer than 45 degrees F. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Check your home alarm system. Some home alarm systems are triggered by power outages.
  • If used incorrectly, generators pose a significant hazard to both the user and crews attempting to restore power. Never plug them in to feed power to your home circuitry. Instead, plug appliances and fixtures directly into the outlets of the generator. Be sure to use generators in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use hot water sparingly. Most hot water tanks will retain heat for up to 24 hours.
  • Switch electrical appliances off when the power goes out to prevent fires and equipment damage during prolonged outages. Leave one or two lights on to let you know when service is restored.
  • When power is restored, turn on electrical appliances gradually. Sudden heavy consumption can damage the electrical system and extend the outage.

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Children’s author Laurie B. Arnold at Magnolia Library

November 16th, 2015 by Sara

Local children’s author Laurie B. Arnold will talk about her author’s journey and her most recent book from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22 at The Seattle Public Library, Magnolia Branch, 2801 34th Ave. W., 206-386-4225.

Arnold will talk about how she went from being a writer of children’s computer games and children’s television shows to her current work as a novelist. She’ll share what inspires her to write for kids, as well as the various writing techniques she uses to come up with ideas.

Arnold’s 2013 book “Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting for You!” is a slipstream fantasy book for kids that blends modern day life with a twist of magic. The book was selected as one of the 20 titles for elementary and middle school students in New Mexico’s 2015-2016 Battle of the Books.

Library events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information, call the Central Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.

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Community meeting – dig into Seattle’s past

November 11th, 2015 by Sara

All are invited to explore some of Magnolia’s history and learn about the field of archeology. On Nov. 19, King County Wastewater Treatment Division invites you to learn about their award-winning efforts to protect history, and to hear archeologist Alicia Valentino share the story told by remnants of Seattle’s Finntown.


Qian Long coin from the Ch’ing Dynasty.

Before the presentation, you can learn about how archeologists have recovered and protected cultural resources on King County’s project sites in Magnolia. See artifacts from Finntown and replicas of artifacts from the West Point Treatment Plant site in Discovery Park. Visit with the Magnolia Historical Society and learn about their work to chronicle the area’s history. In 2014, King County’s contractor unexpectedly unearthed clues to a pre-World War II shantytown during construction of the new Magnolia Wet Weather Storage Facility.  Over a month, archeologists recovered over 2,400 artifacts from a site that turned out to be remnants of Finntown.  Finntown, a low-income, multicultural community, clung to the tideflats of Smith Cove around 1920-1940.

Do you have a personal story from Seattle’s past you would like to tell? From 5:30 until 7 p.m., you can provide video or audio stories to our team!

Please call Monica van der Vieren at 206-477-5502.

When: Thursday, November 19th

Open house and storytelling- 5:30-7 p.m.

Presentation- 7 p.m., followed by Q &A

Where:  Catherine Blaine School, in the cafeteria

2550 34th Ave W


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Fatima’s kindergarten information night

November 11th, 2015 by Sara

Magnolia’s K-8 Catholic elementary school is hosting a kindergarten information night on Monday, November 30th, at 7 p.m. in the kindergarten classroom.

Come learn about what Fatima has to offer: a robust math and technology program; specialists available to all grades in music, art, Spanish, and P.E.; a multi-sensory learning resource; a 9,000-volume library; a true middle school model for grades 6-8; a high rate of 8th grade acceptance to Catholic high school; and a strong and supportive community.  Current parents and 8th graders will be on hand to talk about their experience at Fatima, and a tour will be included.
For additional information, please contact Michele Kellogg in the school office at or at 206-283-7031. Click here to visit the school any time online.

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