News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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Olympic View plant + book sale this weekend

April 24th, 2014 by Mike

Olympic View Elementary School’s highly popular plant sale has been combined with its annual used book sale this year, and both are this Friday and Saturday.

Together, they’ve been re branded Books & Blooms, and as usual will take place at the school, 504 N.E. 95th St.

Hours are:

Friday Books 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Blooms 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday Books and Blooms 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A flyer about the event is here. (pdf)

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Plan C for buses? Don’t forget the coming parks tax vote

April 23rd, 2014 by Mike

With the defeat of King County’s Proposition 1, local transit supporters have already announced an initiative, aimed at November’s ballot, to raise money locally for buses.

Seattle voters only would vote on hiking taxes only in Seattle, and the resulting buses would only serve Seattle.

The measure could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most cuts to King County Metro routes that serve Seattle.

“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” said Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit and proponent of the ballot measure. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”

The full press release from Friends of Transit is here. The idea is to hike Seattle property taxes $22 per $100,000 of assessed value for the next six years. It thus avoids the $60 car tab fee that likely doomed Tuesday’s transit vote.

Here in Maple Leaf  the toll would be something in the neighborhood of $80 to $100 annually.

Here are stories by The Seattle Times, the Stranger and seattlepi.com.

Should another bus tax make the November ballot, it will follow a vote, currently scheduled for August, on likely the  largest property tax levy in Seattle history – for parks.

City Councilman Nick Licata sent an email blast this afternoon:

On Monday, April 28th, the City Council’s Select Committee on Parks Funding will meet to finalize its proposal for a Seattle Park District funding measure. It would go to voters in August and, if passed, would replace the city’s current levy process with a separate taxing authority authorized under the State’s amended Metropolitan Park Districts law.

Last month the Times’ Danny Westneat looked at that proposal here.

But the tax to pay for this would be the largest property-tax levy in city history — and not by a slight amount. At $54 million a year, it’s 35 percent bigger than the Seattle record-holder, the 2006 “Bridging the Gap” street-repair tax, which is still in effect.

The new parks tax would be more than double the last parks levy. Plus, under this plan it could be nearly doubled again without going back to the voters.

In today’s email Licata says the council’s committee has reduced that $54 million to “around $48 million.

“While some reductions to arrive at this level were technical administrative adjustments, such as staffing expense reductions, others did propose program reductions, such as reducing 25 new programs totaling $205,000 in the Recreation Opportunities for All category.”

Licata would like to restore $200,000 to the recreation category. He proposes other changes as well. His blog is here.

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Fight leads to truck fire overnight near Northgate

April 20th, 2014 by Mike

Seattle Police report a fight just north of Northgate Mall ended with a truck set on fire and at least one arrest.

In addition to the police press release, our news partner The Seattle Times has a story with map here.

Police said that the suspect, a man in his 20s, was arguing with the vehicle’s owner, a 28-year old man, over a woman who was part of their group. The suspect pulled a gun, poured a flammable substance into the truck, and set it on fire. The incident occurred in the 11300 block of Corliss Avenue North.

The incident occurred just before 11 p.m.

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Easter eggs in the park – followed by “not a drizzle”

April 19th, 2014 by Mike

The Easter egg hunt in Maple Leaf Reservoir Park got going earlier this morning – followed by rain.

A lot of rain.

And wind. At Maple Leaf Life South, 19 mph at 11:19 a.m.

Umbrellas were blown inside out.

Actually, it appeared there were at least two hunts – the one pictured here, sponsored by Lux Communities, and one a couple hours earlier in the lower park. (Kids plus a puppy.)

As for the rest of the day, here’s what KOMO tweeted earlier:

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A new sparrow for Maple Leaf park’s bird list

April 18th, 2014 by Mike

Spring migration is here, and we’re hoping our bird list for Maple Leaf Reservoir Park grows considerably in the next few months.

This morning we spotted several Savannah Sparrows at the park’s north end, near the water tower.

It’s the 28th 29th 30th species we’ve added to the list. Red-breasted Nuthatch on April 19th! Spotted Towee on Easter 2014.

What makes it a Savannah Sparrow? From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Not all streaky brown birds are impossible to identify: Take a closer look at this one and you’ll see an understated but distinctive sparrow with a short tail, small head, and telltale yellow spot before the eye. Savannah Sparrows are one of the most numerous songbirds in North America, and while sometimes overlooked, are likely visitors across the continent.

Let us know what you spot. The rules are simple – you must see the bird in, or from, the park. And you must be able to identify it or tell us where and how you saw it. (If we can’t ID it, there are several Maple Leaf neighbors who can.)

We’re expecting Osprey and swallows soon. (And tomorrow, bunnies!)

Actually, another new species was spotted recently at the park, but we decided not to list it. Under birds.

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Voting on the bus tax ends in just five days

April 17th, 2014 by Mike

On Fifth Avenue Northeast across from the Northgate branch library.

Update: A newly released Elway Poll finds that 74 percent of voters statewide surveyed last week said they supported higher local taxes for roads and 60 percent said they supported higher taxes for transit.

Note these are statewide findings, not just in King County where Prop. 1 is on the ballot.

It also seems to contradict a similar poll a year ago.

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Ballots for or against the tax hike to fund bus service and other transportation pieces must be postmarked by midnight next Tuesday, April 22.

Earlier this week our news partner The Seattle Times ran an explainer outlining the pros and cons of the proposal.

Among other things, it delves into the questions over bus drivers’ pay.

The proposal calls for a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

Voters are being asked to approve Proposition 1, which calls for a sales-tax boost of 0.1 percent, or a dime per $100 purchase; plus a yearly $60 car-tab fee, to replace a $20 fee that expires this summer. Metro would get 60 percent, while the remaining 40 percent would be split among city and county street departments.

Crosscut also has two quite different takes on the election. Conservative commentator and one-time gubernatorial candidate John Carlson argues against it here. Frustrated residents of First Hill – including Tom Gibbs, Metro’s first director – argue the opposite here.

It’s worth noting that the Seattle City Council is now considering an election later this year that would double the city’s parks levy, raising the annual cost for the owner of a $400,000 home from $76 to $168.

It would both maintain existing parks and add new ones, as well as fund new programs.

Here’s a Crosscut piece on parks published April 18th.

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Two Easter celebrations in Maple Leaf

April 16th, 2014 by Mike

Two Maple Leaf groups have let the community know that they are holding celebrations around the Easter holiday this weekend.

Both are happening on Saturday.

The Lakeview Free Methodist Church, at 9412 15th Ave. N.E., is holding its annual Carnival of Eggs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. All are invited.

And a relative newcomer, Lux Communities, has planned an egg hunt in the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.

Lux Communities and Lux Coffee Company will be sponsoring a FREE Community Egg Hunt on April 19th from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.

The Egg Hunt will have age graded opportunities for children 2-10 yrs. of age (roughly). It will be gathering at the Roosevelt and 85th Street side of the park. This event has been approved by the Seattle Parks Department

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Pedestrian struck, killed near Northgate this morning

April 14th, 2014 by Mike

Memorial photo added April 22nd.

A 17-year-old woman was hit and killed by a pickup truck on Fifth Avenue Northeast this morning, police say.

It happened about 8:15 a.m. as she crossed at Northeast 115th Street, according to a police press release.

Seattle Fire Department Medics and Seattle Police responded to the collision. Medics determined that the 17-year-old female pedestrian died at the scene.

As is protocol, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer responded and evaluated the adult driver of the Ford. It was determined that the driver was not impaired. The driver was released from the scene pending further investigation. Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad responded and began their investigation. This remains an active and on-going investigation.

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Two days later, cause of 9-1-1 outage still not clear

April 12th, 2014 by Mike

For those who’ve been wondering (me!) how the emergency 9-1-1 system could possibly disappear for seven hours, Doug Esser at the Associated Press  has looked into it and found:

Two days later they still don’t know. Or at least they aren’t saying.

CenturyLink, which provides 9-1-1 service here, has blamed it on an unnamed third-party vendor.

Our news partner The Seattle Times has Doug’s story here.

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The weekend Reckless Video sale is on

April 11th, 2014 by Mike

Today and through the weekend Reckless Video, 9020 Roosevelt Way N.E., is having:

* A video sale

* $2 rentals on all three-day titles.

For more information visit its Facebook page.

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Emergency 9-1-1 lines down this morning

April 10th, 2014 by Mike

Afternoon update from our news partner The Seattle Times:

UPDATE: 1:20 p.m. |A team of CenturyLink technicians is investigating the cause of a hours-long interruption of 911 services across Washington early today.

“This is very serious. Our customers’ safety is our top priority,” said Jan Kampbell, CenturyLink’s spokeswoman for Western Washington.

The service interruption was detected about 1 a.m., and by 8 a.m., the company reported that service was fully restored to all 911 centers. During the interruption, some calls to 911 did go through to emergency services, but other calls got only a busy signal, Kampbell said.

Early reports linked the problem to a service interruption in Sheridan, Ore., but Kampbell said that was a separate and unrelated problem.

Update 7:52 a.m. King County says 9-1-1 restored.

Update 7:15 a.m. CenturyLink says 9-1-1 restored.

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At 4:50 a.m. King County announced that the 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system is down in Oregon and Washington, including King County.

If you have an emergency and are unable to get through to 9-1-1, call the following phone numbers in King County for your location.

Seattle: 206-583-2111

From the Associated Press/Seattle Times:

Emergency 911 service is down in most of the state of Washington.

A spokeswoman for CenturyLink, Kerry Zimmer, says the problem began about 1:30 a.m. Thursday at Sheridan, Ore., and Oregon was affected for a time.

She says the outage affects 911 dispatch centers throughout the state of Washington.

CenturyLink is working to find the cause of the problem and fix it.

At this time, there is no estimate for service restoration.

In the meantime, Zimmer recommends that people with an emergency try a 911 call from a cell phone, which sometimes works better than a land line.

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Neighbor reports police presence in Northgate area

April 8th, 2014 by Mike

“Northgate Nan” emails this afternoon:

I saw this Seattle Police van parked yesterday afternoon and two officers walking east on Northgate Way from the complex where FedEx is. It looked like they were stopping in to the businesses along the way. I thought this might be good for folks to know about with all the trouble going on lately.

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Report of overnight mail thefts near Northgate

April 8th, 2014 by Mike

Daniel emails this morning:

Late last night or early this morning (April 8), the residents of the Northgate Villa Condominium (Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 105th Street) had their mailboxes forcibly pried open and their mail stolen. This is the second occurrence in less than a month.

The US Postal Service and the Seattle Police have both acknowledged that there has been a significant increase in residential mail theft in the Northgate and Maple Leaf neighborhoods. Residents are urged to pick up their mail daily and not to leave it out overnight.

We do from time to time get reports of mail theft. You can see a site search here.

The map at right is mail theft reports to Seattle Police in the neighborhood so far this year.

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Update on teen pack – plus a Northgate senior scam

April 7th, 2014 by Mike

Update April 8: The police public affairs team has sent us the field reports on both the initial attack and the second one. The reports confirm both.

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Our post last week, “Armed teen pack near Northgate robs boys 11, 16,” has now drawn nearly three dozen comments.

Among them are at least two pieces of news.

The first is an update on the original attack, and a report of a more recent one.

This morning John posted, in the comments section, an email he received from Kipp Strong, a Seattle Police officer and member of the North Precinct Community Police Team.

There seems to be a group of kids from Whitman Middle School who have created some issues in the Northgate area. They have been named as suspects in a couple different incidents. I would encourage you, or anyone else to call 9-1-1 should you see this group creating any problems in your neighborhood.

Also this morning Catherine reported another incident in the area.

I am a home-stay host to two Saudi students. They told me about two Saudi students (who are studying at Kaplan) who were assaulted at a Northgate bus stop on 4/2/14 by a group of 10 males and 2 females. It was clearly a hate crime – the assailants made it clear they were attacking them because they were Saudi. According to my housemates, one student ended up in Harborview with his jaw broken in two places, and the other Saudi student received an injury to his head.

The police crime report map still does not show the original teen attack, or this new one from April 2.

In addition, Annie – the mother of the original victims who has been updating in comments – has observed that a different commentator’s post deserves to be called out.

Here it is, by “Observer” on April 5:

My 86 year old mother was conned out of $1,900 yesterday by a guy that claimed a part fell off her Subaru in the QFC parking lot, he was a “service tech” familiar with Subaru’s and then fixed the car with a “new” part that he just happened to have. Four door black truck, two male accomplices, two kids in the back seat. He drove her to the bank in her own car and smooth talked her out of a big chunk of change.

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Three things about buses – an update as votes are cast

April 7th, 2014 by Mike

Absentee ballots have arrived in the mail for this month’s transit tax vote.  Our last post on it drew enough comments that it’s worth noting three new stories in our news partner The Seattle Times.

First, the Times rather surprisingly opposed the tax – which was supported by a unanimous King County Council and by many area leaders – in an editorial over the weekend, saying Metro needs to do more to cut costs before voters pass a $60 car tab fee and a sales-tax increase.

The pattern is clear. As in previous rounds of asking taxpayers for more money, Metro sees its shortfall as a revenue problem, rather than thoroughly confronting its well-documented unsustainably high operating costs.

As to Metro’s announcement that without the money it will have to slash bus service by 17 percent:

If voters turn down Proposition 1, King County threatens a round of devastating bus-service cuts, many on popular routes including those carrying students to college. County and Metro leadership should not let that happen.

The threat ignores other options, including further fare increases and ever tighter control of administrative costs and capital expenses.

It’s worth remembering that the tax is nobody’s first choice for funding buses and other needs, but is a cobbled together Plan B after the state Legislature failed to act before going home last month.

Second, the Times today has a story out of the Eastside, where the Kirkland City Council voted 6-1 in favor of Proposition 1, but Belleuve business leaders opposed it.

A thumbs-up from the Kirkland City Council and a thumbs-down from the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce speak to the important role suburban voters could play in the fate of Metro’s Proposition 1 on the April 22 ballot.

Finally, the Times today posted the results of its survey on full Metro buses passing by waiting riders.

From 266 reader reports:

If you’re traveling north or south, you’ve got a greater chance of being passed up. Readers reported a total of 205 pass-ups, or about 77 percent of the total, on routes heading north or south.

The top time to get passed up? About 35 percent of pass-ups came during the afternoon rush between 5 and 6 p.m.

Route 40 might be the most crowded bus in Seattle.

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