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A sign of Christmas peace

December 19th, 2014 by Sara

By reporter Steven Smalley
You can see it from Ballard, Phinney Ridge, and from airplanes on the way to a landing. For 12 years, Magnolia resident Kenny Down has erected a giant lighted peace symbol on his roof he calls a Christmas ornament.
“It is peace on Earth, goodwill towards man. The idea here is we can be peaceful inside of ourselves,” he says. “It’s a Christmas ornament, absolutely.”
This year Down has gone all the way. At a cost his wife Shannon says is over a thousand dollars, Down drafted some friends to fabricate a 12-foot aluminum symbol-of-another-era complete with industrial LED lights visible from space, it seems. He says it’s all for the love of his wife.
“To us it’s about the season, the holidays, and family,” Down says.
You might think the neighbors would complain, but no.
“We’ve never had a single response that hasn’t been just incredibly positive. People down at the locks ask about it. They say, ‘When is the peace sign going up?’” Down reveals. “I think we’re adding something really nice to the neighborhood.”
If one described to you a person with a glowing giant peace sign on their roof, you might imagine a former member of the counterculture with the inability to let go. You would be wrong. Husband, father, and business owner, Down just likes the idea of peace, especially at Christmas.
“Now I’ve been informed by my family, it can’t get any bigger or any brighter,” he confesses.
The best vantage point to view Down’s salute-to-peace is after dark from the federal locks. Look south and up the hill. Can’t miss it.

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Car crash?

December 19th, 2014 by Sara

Alexander writes:

This morning I was driving west on Bertona between 37th and 38th, Saw a prius with it’s side airbags deployed sitting outside that house in the back ground, and this audi was sitting where it is in the photo, I drove back by a couple hours later on my way home (on 37th) , and saw that the audi was still there. Anyone know about this? Kind of weird that the owner would just leave the car sitting in the middle of the road without at least trying to move it, could be totaled but call a tow truck?



Local boys help save the snow leopards

December 19th, 2014 by Sara

snow leopards

We came across these three selling hot chocolate in the Village.  Asim, Isaac and Luke- students at Lawton, have been raising funds to help save snow leopards because there aren’t many left on the planet (According to the Woodland Park Zoo, there may be as few as 4,000 left in the wild). When we told them that we would share their cause with the rest of Magnolia, they were thrilled. Click here if you’d like to help.  


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Who, What, When (How and Why) Sure ‘Nuff a Most Vital Column

December 18th, 2014 by Sara

John Maynard reporting.
Hello, Magnolians. This column is the result of what happens when you sit down on the sidewalk bench in front of Le Roux and have a conversation with Steve Smalley. So every couple of weeks or so, I’ve agreed to address such matters as…
THE MCGRAW STREET TREES OF GLORY. Kudos to Dan Penhollow for dragging a ladder and lights up and down McGraw illuminating the madronas with holiday majesty. Of course, supervised by Gaard Swanson (read: walking by and cheering Dan on to get a little higher up… just one more rung, Dan, you can do it.) Thanks for your help, Gaard.
And issues such as…
THE HEARTBREAK AND FURY OF FELONY THEFT. I’m sure we all missed Carol Ard (and Tom’s) elaborate Halloween Alley this year. If you haven’t heard, all of their displays and decorations were stolen from their farmhouse in Poulsbo. And to the perps, may the many sheriffs of Kitsap Forest plop hot coals of jurisprudence down the front of your trousers.
RACCOONS. It was brought to your reporter’s attention this week that hungry raccoons have been entering the residence of Joe Micheals (booth announcer for KING TV) through the cat door.
I pointed out to Joe that raccoons were here long before us. It is we who have encroached on their territory and in my opinion it is they who should have eminent domain.
Hold on, this bulletin just handed to me… A brand new business has just opened in Magnolia Village. We welcome Joe Micheals’ Davy Crockett Hat Shoppe. All sizes. And, if you’re looking to dress up your car antenna….
And finally…
Here is a query for a certain faction of Magnolians. Can anyone think of a PAC 12 football coach who stands morosely on the sidelines looking like he just sniffed a bad diaper? Well, can you? Just a question.
By the way… did I mention in my last post that leaf blowers are the work of Satan? Oh, I did? Good.
Thanks for reading. See ya in a couple of weeks. And please address all comments and complaints immediately to Steve Smalley.


Christmas past, present and future

December 15th, 2014 by Sara

A guest post from our friend Shaun Myrick


I love all holidays, but Christmas is by far my favorite.  The decorations, the food and the traditions we all make and have — there is nothing better.

Magnolia is a special place.  It’s our own little small town in the middle of one of the world’s fastest growing cities.

We all have special memories of Christmases past in Magnolia.  Mine start with buying my first cut Christmas tree at Magnolia Garden Center for our first house in the neighborhood.  It was one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I had ever had.  Year after year, there was the joy of knowing Christmas was coming when Jamie Moyer’s large tree light up the night sky with lights — Magnolia’s Christmas tree.

I’ll always remember Christmas 2008 when we were snowed in for a week.  It was so special having an actual White Christmas in Magnolia.  I loved having friends walk over to enjoy hot buttered brandies and the assortment of cookies and candies I made.  Christmas dinner was extra special as our table was full with all of our local friends that couldn’t make it home to their own families, but after all friends are family.

This year, we may not have a white Christmas, but our more traditional Seattle wet Christmas. Our spirits will not be dampened!  We’ve enjoyed Winterfest with the “snow” on McGraw Street and here at the studio, we’ll have cookies and treats and we’ll get to meet many of our wonderful neighbors.

Christmas past, present and future… One thing that holds them all together for me is my tradition of baking cookies with and for family, friends and neighbors.  I’d love to share one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes with you — Double Chocolate Toffee.  I hope you enjoy these doubly delicious treats.

Yes, Christmas in Magnolia is special.  What are your Christmas traditions?

Happy Holidays!

Shaun Myrick Design is Magnolia’s newest lifestyle brand offering interior design services for all of your projects — big and small.  Recipes, party planning advice, gardening ideas, pet tips and everything else to make your house (or apartment or condo) a home — we have you covered.  How good is that?



West Emerson Overpass to reopen to traffic this Friday

December 15th, 2014 by Sara

It must be a holiday miracle…

Here’s the latest on the overpass construction project:

The West Emerson Overpass is expected to reopen to traffic Friday, December 19. The exact time of the opening is still being determined by the project team. The webpage and project hotline (206-615-1070) will be updated with additional details as they become available.

SDOT thanks you for your patience and flexibility during construction. Through the entirety of the project, SDOT worked in close coordination with multiple agencies and contractors to expedite the work schedule wherever possible. This allowed SDOT to open the overpass on time despite freezing temperatures, high levels of precipitation, and challenging weather conditions in recent weeks.

SDOT says after the opening, there will still be some minor projects to be done, such as striping, etc, but they expect the overpass to remain open to traffic during the work.


Edited-Did you witness an accident on Gilman last night?

December 15th, 2014 by Sara


11:41 pm- Editor’s note: We have had some follow-up emails noting that the car in question may have stopped after the incident in question.  We have calls out to the police- please check back for more information as we get it.

Earlier-We are following up on this email about a potential hit and run. Please call 911 if you know any info:

Does anyone know what happened to the lady who was hit while crossing the street on Gilman Ave W last night, near the corner of 24th and Gilman?  Driver didn’t see her and never hit his brakes and threw her 50 to 100 yards when he hit her.  That crosswalk is almost invisible to drivers when it is sunny.  They never stop there.  Something needs to be done to make it more visible.

Thanks to April for the tip.


Locals plea: Shop right here

December 14th, 2014 by Sara

By reporter Steven Smalley
Lots of time left to pick up great gifts for those on your Christmas list. Magnolia Voice spoke with some local merchants who ask you consider making those purchases here in the neighborhood. Store owners remind us they are the same group of folks who put on the well attended events such as WinterFest, the Wine Walk, and help support kids’ sports activities. Here are a few of their holiday remarks on the subject:
People are very busy, and find less and less time to do much of anything. That affects brick-and-mortar retail. We have terrific customers, just not enough of them.
– Mike Smith, Leroux Fine Apparel for Men and Women
Shopping local is what it’s all about. I think we give Magnolia its charm. For the Village to be successful it means the people who live here have to shop here. If we weren’t here, Magnolia would be mostly housing.
– Margaret Flaherty, Magnolia Garden Center
By shopping local, you create jobs in the community. Everybody who works here, lives in this community. If you don’t continue to support small businesses, then we’re going to evaporate. Come and do your “girl” shopping here.
– Courean Napolitano, Vixen Day Spa and Boutique
This holiday season, no need to go downtown. Shop local. They’re your friends. They’re your neighbors.
– Greg Carnese, Magnolia Chamber of Commerce
What I love about being at the store, the idea of, “everybody knows your name.” When you shop locally you are supporting your neighbors. You’re supporting your neighborhood. It’s more about serving our friends than serving our customers.
– Scott Ward, Current and Furbish
An additional recommendation – Seattle was one of the cities chosen by the Small Business Administration, a federal agency, to feature eleven small business districts and eleven small businesses for a short video presentation. Magnolia Village was selected with Current and Furbish the highlighted business. Click here to see small businesses within our city, which include Ballard, Queen Anne, and Magnolia.


Recent crime news

December 10th, 2014 by Sara

Unsettling news for our neighborhood…
3400 block (W Ruffner and W Bertona) had a break-in and an attempted break-in last week:

Not just one, but two more homes were vandalized in past days! First home had a window frame damaged via a tool but no entry gained, whereas entrance was gained on the second home through a window.

Both incidents were carried out at the back of the homes, entering from lighted side walkways, thru gates. It seems bold; many homes were occupied on the street during incidents and neighboring homes share open walkways to gates.

Police were prompt in attending scene after it was called in. Police suggested it is likely the suspect(s) live in the vicinity as there have been several incidents now within a few blocks.

And this one:

Some of you already know this…there was an attempted break in on 39th between Ruffner and Emerson. They were not home at the time.

And also an attempted break in at the vacant house on the west side of the street. Not sure if that was the same time. Possibly on Monday. The police were out tonight and are making a report. We need to be vigilant and report to the neighbors so we are all aware and watch out for everyone  especially the homes where folks are at work all day.

Terrie Johnston, Crime Prevention Coordinator for the West and East Precinct writes:

Dear Block Watchers:  The number of reported residential burglaries on Queen Anne and Magnolia is the same this year as last year’s rate.  However, when several homes are hit on one day, or when a block is unaccustomed to crime and it happens there, neighbors get justifiably concerned.  I write in hopes of sharing some preventative measures in order to lower your risk of becoming the next victim. With the approaching holiday season, we are going to see many of our neighbors out of town, many more thefts of mail/pkgs., more solicitors and frankly just more of everything.  It’s a good time to review our best practices.

Locks:  Please use the locks/ latches you have.  Many of the burglaries that occurred this past month were made through unlocked windows.  Some had screens that the burglar simply removed to then gain entry.   Even if you are going to be gone just a short time, lock up!

Exterior doors should be secured with a dead-bolt lock with at least a 1”throw. The doors should be strong enough to withstand excessive force. The door’s hardware such as strike plates and frames need to be anchored to the homes main construction.  We recommend a wide-angle peephole on the main entrance door.

Windows:  Sliding doors/windows can be fortified with a snug-fitting dowel placed in the lower track.   Ensure windows are closed and locked prior to leaving home? If your valuables are visible from the sidewalk, consider closing the blinds when you are away.

Shrubbery:  Burglars love secluded backyards.  Keep your shrubs and trees trimmed to allow for greatest visibility.  Consider motion-sensitive lighting for side and rear areas of your home.

Door Answering:  Since many burglars knock on doors to ascertain whether anyone’s home, it is imperative you always answer the door.  By this I MEAN, talk through the door, don’t open it!

Home alone?  Bluff!  Yell out, “Honey, I’ll get it!”  or whatever words you can use that might indicate there are others in the house.  Then, by talking through the door, you can say you’re on a conference call; you are contagious; or your pet snakes are out of their tanks, etc.  Model this for your kids.  They may be home alone and find themselves in this situation.  It is not rude to talk through the door and it may save yourself a face-to-face encounter with a burglar.

Mail Theft:  Already the reports of stolen packages from porches and multi-family dwellings are being made.  I researched alternatives to home delivery of my packages and found there are many ways to minimize this popular crime.  It is possible to track delivery of your pkg. which may allow being home then.  Can you arrange for the package to be sent to another location, such as a FedEx office or perhaps your workplace?  Could you tip off a trusted neighbor to sign for you, should a package come when you are away?  Talk to your neighbors and see if they’d be willing to store the package inside their home until you get back or instruct them to place it unseen on the side or back.

9-1-1:  Cannot stress enough the importance of reporting all suspicious activity to 9-1-1.  It’s okay if what you are reporting turns out to be nothing. You don’t know what is prevented by getting the patrol car into the neighborhood.   9-1-1 is not just for emergencies, it is for all police reporting and that includes suspicious activity. This is how many of our burglars and car prowlers are caught.

Block Watch:  Did you know that statistics show one is more likely to call 9-1-1 to help a neighbor out, if they know that neighbor’s name?  Even though Block Watch was created to help reduce burglaries, knowing your neighbors and agreeing to watch out for them just makes sense.  Natural emergencies, power outages, landslides, etc. are additional reasons we need to stay together as a neighborhood. We may have to wait for first responders to get to our ‘neck of the woods’ and our neighbors may be our salvation.

Inventory Lists:  itemizing your valuables and noting serial numbers; model and/or photos of jewelry, art, bikes, etc. is helpful to follow-up detectives.  Stolen property is often recovered without a chance of returning to the rightful owner.

Please avail yourselves of the many on-line resources SPD has available to you such as or our Twitter account @SeattlePD.  Our main SPD website, has many resources and other online services such as “tweets-by-beat”; our Facebook page and online crime maps .

You can always contact me for Block Watch, to request a free home security survey or with any public safety questions.  I thank you for your continued interest in crime prevention.



Show us your best holiday family photo

December 6th, 2014 by Sara

By reporter Steven Smalley

Putting together your Christmas cards? You know, the ones with the cute pictures of the family? Time to send Magnolia Voice your best photograph for inclusion in our holiday photo spread. Include your cutest snap with either Santa, the family, or just the kids. We’re shooting for maximum smiles. Email

Our first photo is a shameless submission from our fearless editor

Our first photo is a shameless submission from our fearless editor

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