About Megan Hill

Megan Hill is the Editor of Central District News. She's also a freelance food, travel, and feature writer.

Farewell, Central District News

Justin has already said everything that needs to be said about the final days of Central District News and the rationale behind shutting the site down after so many years. This has been tough to swallow, and I’ll miss the site as a community resource as much as I’ll miss writing for it every day.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out some of our most read stories, posted yesterday. Today will be our last day of reporting, and we’re ending on a positive note: a follow up to the site’s very first story, a harrowing story that has a happy ending, nearly seven years later.

I’ve only been your editor for nine months, but I feel honored to have served the Central District’s residents. Your outpouring of support over the last week has been incredible, a true testament to the strength of this community and the enjoyment we all found in sharing the day’s news and connecting over our neighborhood’s most important stories. It’s disheartening to see it come to a close.

Thanks for reading and contributing, and hope to see you around.

The People of the Central Area: Lori Kane, Author & Community Fan, CollectiveSelf.com

This post is part of a series of profiles of Central District residents, part of “The People of the Central Area” project developed and written by Madeline Crowley.

Photo by Madeline Crowley

About Lori:

Lori regularly opens her Central Area home to anyone who wants to work in a free co-working space, Collective Self. She and her friend, Knox Gardner, also brought the neighborhood the event Hopscotch CD, by involving many other contributing individuals and groups.

Hopscotch started as a small event and it grew, could you talk about that?

The idea came from my friend Knox Gardner who lives just off Jackson Street. He heard about HopscotchDetroit, they attempted to set a record for the world’s longest Hopscotch path (four miles) and they did it. As I was doing interviews, I kept hearing about Knox from different people who didn’t know each other. Then he emailed to say he was thinking about this Hopscotch event… so that was a sign that I should do something with Knox, even though I hadn’t even met him yet.

So, we started thinking about Hopscotch CD in February, posted in the Central District News to ask if people wanted to help. We asked our neighbors. Then, five or six people got together. We wanted it to be about getting to know each other. This is a neighborhood with an extraordinary number of busy people: a lot of technology people who work 60-80 hours a week because that’s just part of the gig, or instead people working three jobs while taking care of kids and parents.

The event wasn’t going to be about making a 4-mile Hopscotch path, we wanted to do a semi-circle from Jackson to Union. I wanted to do from 18th-23rd Avenues along Union Street because that’s my stretch of the neighborhood. Knox wanted to do MLK and then down Jackson. Originally, he wanted it to work with the SeattleGreenways program.

The part of the Hopscotch path connecting Jackson to Union followed the Seattle Greenways’ proposed Central Seattle Greenway, with one minor deviation so that the path would cross Jefferson safely at an existing crosswalk. We started meeting and getting ideas of what we should do for an event. We just wanted it to be fun and playful, that’s enough. If you can get people to play together, to have fun together they can add to the event themselves.

Not everyone sees it like that, not everyone wants to have fun, and not everyone wants to get to know the neighbors, either. For us both the motivation was to meet other neighbors, to build community and all that comes with that.

We started by asking people if they wanted to participate by doing things along the route.  We applied for a Small and Simple Grant but didn’t get the grant until mere moments before the event, so expenses were all out of pocket. Now, we’re getting reimbursed for that, which is really nice.

We had a small group of people laying 2-miles of Hopscotch path so we took a Block Captain approach and asked people to take ownership of their own blocks. That worked well everywhere except Jackson because of the big businesses there. Union Street is small businesses and homes. The core organizers of Hopscotch knew those businesses, so the business owners totally embraced the event. They went way above and beyond to participate. Katy’s Coffee did a rummage sale on Union, they had balloon artists and buckets of sidewalk chalk and had neighbors who did face painting. Alex at 20/20 Cycle had a vintage clothing sale on the sidewalk. A chiropractor did free adjustments and gave out coupons. Meter Music School participated. Fisher and Shawn of Alley Cat Acres brought fresh eggs from their chickens and made breakfast all day for people. Jean Tinnea, who is a long long time resident who did the neighborhood garden tour for over a decade, and her friend Mary Pat organized a Flea Market. They’re raising money for a Central District Public Arts project. Magpie Clothing participated too. They all embraced it and loved it.

Still, what really made the event big was the Central District Association’s Derryl and Sharon Durden. They were long time Central District residents, wonderful human beings. They used to own a bunch of property in the area, like the Neighbor Lady building. The Durdens figured out what they could do for Hopscotch though they don’t even live in the neighborhood anymore.

The Central District Association decided to do something big on Union and their friend Angela Knight, a firecracker of a human being, pulled together in three weeks a carnival in the parking lot of Med Mix. It was amazing, the most fun carnival I’ve ever been to: they had fire trucks, they had a bouncy boxing ring with huge soft gloves, they had magicians, all this stuff for kids.

It was great fun. They really helped us make inroads into the African-American community and into the kid-community. Angela had friends at Garfield High School who got posters made, got students to come and help, and to show up the day of the event. That was really nice and it just sort of bloomed from there.

There were yard sales. The Lake Washington Girls School got involved. Centerstone had a pop-up adventure play and free hot dogs in their parking lot. The Block Captain, there, Kenton, did an attempt at a Guinness Book of World records for the most people hopscotching at the same time. They needed 380 people and they got 330. It was so much fun.

I knew it would be fun to hopscotch with kids, but hopscotching with other adults in a parking lot with 300 plus people, it was so much fun. We just showed up at there but the Guinness Records people require it to have a sign-in sheet, contact information with 300 people in this space. Kenton set up about a hundred courts for 4 person teams. By the time we finished signing people in and I went to join my team, I noticed that the whole parking lot had been decorated with sidewalk chalk. People had decorated their own courts and it was just awesome. One group had numbered their squares with animals that increased in size, so it started with a worm as Number 1 with number 10 was a dinosaur. It was just cool.

How did that shift you experience of living here in this neighborhood?

The biggest thing for me was making new friends from the process of organizing the event, not even the event itself. Far more important than the event itself is the sheer number of people we know. That has exploded. (Lori stops speaking for a moment to cry) It was really awesome.

I was really struck that day at how amazing this neighborhood is with the variety of people here. We are really lucky to have a ton of people here from East Africa. Even after the event it was fun to keep getting pictures of hopscotching. We used a flour and cornstarch for the hopscotch grid that was supposed to go away after 3 rains. As it turns out, Detroit rains are much heavier so that equals about 10 Seattle rains. It will go away eventually. Weeks after the event people were sending us pictures people on the hopscotch path. One Sunday there was a photo in front of Immaculate Conception Church. There was a First Communion of a little girl from the Filipino community wearing a dress that looked like a wedding dress. She’s hopscotching in this big dress with her little brother who’s a little formal suit with a tie and a vest.

A neighbor sent it to me as she was watching the family try to get the kids to take a formal event picture but the kids just kept hopscotching away in their fancy outfits. We were sent a lot of photos of people in front of Swedish Hospital, one in particular was of a girl with a broken leg. Her African-American was family hopscotching behind her in a wheelchair.

To read the full story, click here.

Man seriously injured in car/scooter collision yesterday

A collision at 12th and Boren yesterday left a man seriously injured, according to Seattle Police Department’s blotter. A small sedan crashed into his scooter around 1:24 PM.

More from SPD:

Preliminary investigation indicates that a black 2013 Yamaha scooter was traveling northbound on 12th Avenue South approaching Boren Avenue South. At the same time a 2001 tan Honda Accord was traveling southbound on Boren Avenue South approaching 12th Avenue South. The two vehicles collided in the intersection, causing the motor scooter operator to be ejected and thrown to the pavement. The events leading up to the collision are unknown at this time and remain under active investigation.

Fire department medics responded to the scene and transported the adult male operator of the scooter to Harborview Medical Center with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers evaluated the 82-year-old female driver of the Honda for signs of impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs.  No signs of impairment were detected.

There were no citations issued at the scene, which is standard procedure in serious traffic collisions requiring extensive follow up investigation and collision reconstruction.

Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives responded to the scene and continue to actively investigate.

 

Open House tomorrow for Central Area Neighborhood Greenway and 23rd Avenue corridor projects

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is hosting another open house for the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway and 23rd Avenue corridor projects tomorrow, February 26, from 5:00 to 7:30 PM at Thurgood Marshall Elementary (2401 S Irving Street).

In case you need a reminder, SDOT’s summary of the projects:

23rd Avenue connects a variety of users to businesses, educational institutions and residences in the Central Area and beyond. This area also serves high volumes of vehicles, pedestrians, people riding bikes, and transit users (approximately 5,800 daily– the 8th highest ridership in King County). Today, the road is in poor condition with hundreds of patches where potholes existed, narrow lanes, a lack of turn pockets at key intersections and is bordered in many places by narrow and uneven sidewalks.

To balance the needs of users in the area, SDOT will redesign 23rd Avenue between E John Street and Rainier Avenue S (Phases 1 and 2) from the current four lanes (two lanes in each direction) to three lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane). Between E Roanoke Street and E John Street (Phase 3), the road will remain four lanes. SDOT will also implement a nearby neighborhood greenway, called the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. This greenway will provide a safer, calmer street for people to walk and ride bicycles.

The purpose of our projects in the Central Area is to balance safety, mobility and reliability needs for a variety of users in the area, as well as enhance the local community and natural environment.

More info

Central Area Neighborhood Greenway: www.seattle.gov/transportation/centralgreenway.htm

23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/23rd_ave.htm

23rdAveCorridor@seattle.gov

Voters will have a say in Metro’s future

County residents will vote in April on measures to boost King County Metro’s budget, including a $60 car tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase.

Bus fares will also rise beginning in March 2015 in another effort to help Metro. Yesterday, the Metropolitan King County Council voted to raise fares by 25 cents, so peak one-zone rides will cost you $2.75 and peak two-zone rides will be $3. If the ballot measure is approved, it will raise $130 million per year, with $50 million of that going to repair streets around the county. The remaining $80 million will be earmarked for Metro and for county-maintained roads.

These efforts are attempts to avoid Metro’s threatened 17 percent service cut after the state legislature chose not to act on Metro’s behalf. Metro said in November it would slash service, including cutting and reducing several routes in the Central District. If the budget picture didn’t improve, Metro said it would eliminate routes 4 and 27 and reduce service on routes 2, 3, 7, and others.

The council also created a low-income fare program to reduce the burden of a fare increase on low-income riders. If the tax measure passes, the county’s approval of a $1.25 low-income fare will go into effect. If voters do not pass the measure, low-income fare will be $1.50.

If passed, the April 22 ballot measure will do several things:

  • Increase the King County sales tax by 0.1 of a percent for ten years;
  • Establish a $60 vehicle fee;
  • Distribute 60 percent of the net revenues of the ballot measure to provide funding to maintain Metro transit service hours at current levels. If any funds remain after maintaining transit service hours, evenly split the remaining funds 50/50 between transit and unincorporated road purposes;
  • 40 percent would go to cities for transportation improvements and the county for unincorporated area road purposes allocated based on population;
  • Specify that the funds must be used for transportation improvement projects contained in the County’s, Cities’ or Puget Sound Regional Council’s approved transportation plans (as updated by the individual jurisdictions);
  • Establish a low-income rebate program that rebates $20 of vehicle fee for vehicle owners whose household income is less than 45 percent of the county’s median household income.

The sales tax increase and the $60 car tab fee would expire after 10 years.

LHPAI prepares for two upcoming events

It’s looking to be a busy spring at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI), which is gearing up for two major events.

The first takes place this Friday, February 28. “A Salute to the 60’s & Motown” is a musical variety show featuring seasoned performers in a send-off to Black History Month. Tickets are on sale for $20 in advance or $25 at the door. More from LHPAI:

‘Salute’ is a mini-musical about the hit-producing superstars of the 1960s such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and others who sang a staggering number of hit songs. Providing a memorable entertainment experience with classic numbers, smooth dance routines, multiple costume changes, and the sounds of legendary performers, ‘Salute’ is presented under the direction Ernest Pumphrey, Sr. and features Ernest Pumphrey Jr., Josephine Howell, Makini Magee, okanomodé, Tiffany Wilson and Mark Cardenas.

LHPAI also has a trailer for the event:

Later this spring, LHPAI presents its 11th Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, with documentaries, youth-made films, an LGBTQ mini-fest, experimental work, sci-fi, family-friendly screenings, and more. The festival runs from April 26 to May 4.

Three films have been confirmed for the event:

Toussaint L’Ouverture: a two-part action epic based on the life of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture, a leader of the Haitian independence movement during the French Revolution, who emancipated slaves and established Haiti as a black-governed French protectorate.

The Magic City: the poignant story of young sisters Tiana and Nia, and their new friend Amiya. Victims of abandonment, abuse and the Florida foster care system, the resourceful trio use their street smarts to survive while plotting to conceal the death of the sisters’ aunt.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: Family mini-fest. This beloved animated series ran from 1972 to 1985. It centered on Albert (known for his catchphrase “Hey, hey, hey!”), and his friends who hung out in a Philadelphia junkyard. Together this group of Afro-American inner-city kids shared educational adventures and finished each episode with a song played on cobbled-together junkyard instruments. It was created, produced and hosted by comedian Bill Cosby and was based on Cosby’s childhood memories.

LHPAI will release the screening dates and a complete line-up of films and other events in March.

 

 

 

Blotter | Shooting at homeless encampment; Detectives shut down crime ring trafficking in government benefits

Your weekend blotter updates:

  • A fight led to a shooting at a homeless encampment under the Yesler overpass at 4th Ave and Terrace Street late Saturday night, says the Seattle Police Department. Just before midnight, the 50-year-old victim was involved in an altercation with three other males at the camp. According to SPD:

The victim was striking a subject using a 2X2 board when a reportedly uninvolved male approached and shot him.  The suspect fled the scene on foot.  The victim walked a few feet and collapsed on some bedding in the encampment on the west side of the street.

Seattle Fire responded and transported the victim to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries.

Homicide and CSI responded and processed the scene.

The investigation continues

  • A team of detectives and members of other agencies working in concert over two weeks shut down a large crime ring accused of trafficking and fraudulent use of government-issued Electronic Benefit Transfer (“EBT”) cards at a S. Jackson Street market. SPD detectives with the Seattle Police Department’s Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF) worked with officers from the East Precinct’s Anti-Crime Team and Community Police Team, the Department of Social and Health Services’ (DSHS) Office of Fraud and Accountability and federal agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The investigation involved activities at the Minh Tam Market. SPD’s blotter has more:

On February 19th, 2014 the Major Crimes Task Force executed a total of eight search warrants surrounding two separate trafficking rings, arresting four suspects and seizing over $427,000.00 in U.S. currency located in bank accounts, the suspect store location and the suspect’s home residence.

During the first phase of the investigation, several undercover sales of EBT benefits were sold to a female suspect in her 60’s, who processed transactions at various stores for food items. She then paid undercover officers approximately 50 cents on the dollar for the benefit amount used on the EBT cards. Undercover officers were told by the suspect that the food items that she was purchasing were being resold to other unidentified suspects, who own and run Seattle area restaurants. Those restaurants have not been identified at this time. The female suspect was arrested yesterday but has not been charged yet.

In the second phase of the investigation several additional undercover sales of EBT benefits were sold directly at Minh Tam’s Market, which then gave the undercover officers cash back at the same rate of approximately 50 cents on the dollar. The undercover officer would simply meet up with an associate/employee of the store, walk inside, approach the store clerk and let them know how much of their government issued EBT benefit funds they wished to sell. The store clerk would make the transaction and give the undercover officer approximately half of the cash amount, which the store transferred into their account. In two of the undercover transactions, the associate/employee, who met with the undercover officers and introduced them to the store clerk, also sold the undercover officers suspected rock cocaine as a portion of their food stamp transaction payment.

The suspects in these cases potentially face a multitude of charges including Food Stamp Trafficking and Money Laundering.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has agreed to open up a case on the suspect(s) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office possibly looking at federal charges as well.

This case is still ongoing and continues to be investigated by the Seattle Police Department’s Major Crimes Task Force along with the USDA and DSHS.

 

Expect I-5 delays, ramp and lane closures this weekend

WSDOT has put out a traffic advisory for motorists using I-5 this weekend as crews work on a $2.8 million project to replace the left half of ten aging expansion joints on the southbound Interstate 5 collector-distributor to Interstate 90. That area will be reduced to one lane through the weekend and the James and Spring Streets on-ramps to the collector-distributor will also be closed.

More information from WSDOT:

The lanes and ramps will close by 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24. Drivers will still be able to exit southbound I-5 to eastbound I-90. The collector-distributor, which runs parallel to I-5 just south of the Washington State Convention Center, provides southbound access to I-90, Dearborn Street, Airport Way and Fourth Avenue South. All of those exits will remain open.

 

What we saw last weekend

Although the closure is not on the main southbound lanes of I-5, through-traffic will experience congestion in downtown Seattle as exiting drivers merge into one lane on the collector-distributor.  During Feb. 16-18 weekend work on I-5, southbound traffic backed up to Northgate and drivers experienced delays of up to 90 minutes. To prevent similar backups commuters are urged to:

 

·       Use alternate routes such as State Route 99 or I-405 for southbound travel.

·       Take earlier downtown exits.

·       Carpool or use transit

·       Reschedule or delay discretionary trips

·       Call 5-1-1 for traffic updates

·       Know before you go by checking the Seattle area traffic map

·       Check travel alerts before heading out the door

·       Get traveler information on your mobile device

·       Follow WSDOT on Twitter: @wsdot_traffic

 

The I-5 express lanes will operate southbound from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day.

 

This is the fourth of nine weekend closures to replace 26 deteriorating expansion joints on elevated sections of I-5. After this weekend’s work is complete, the next closure is scheduled for March 8-9 on the northbound collector-distributor.

 

Expansion joints help maintain a smooth driving surface by allowing the highway to expand and contract with changing weather. Replacing old expansion joints not only helps preserve I-5 well into the future, it also saves drivers hours of unexpected delays caused by emergency highway repairs.

This $2.8 million project will wrap up in spring 2014.

Contingent faculty at Seattle University files for union election

Seattle University’s contingent faculty (i.e. adjuncts, postdocs, TAs, non-tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty, part-time teachers, lecturers, and instructors) have today filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to form a union with Service Employees International Union Local 925.

These instructors have stepped into a national movement of contingent faculty organizing, joining unions, and working to increase their job security — all with an aim towards improving the future of higher education.

“This is a step forward in addressing the inequities that adjunct and contingent faculty face each day,” said Nancy Burkhalter, a contingent professor in Languages and Culture Bridge at SU, in a press release this morning. “We’re part of the national movement to ensure quality education is a priority. I stand proudly with contingent colleagues, tenured colleagues, and our incredible students who have shown such wonderful support.”

More from Seattle U:

Seattle University relies on a large group of highly trained contingent faculty to teach at their campuses. These university faculty members typically face tenuous employment, little to no benefits, and low income – making it difficult to fulfill their mission of providing high quality education to students.

Adjunct and contingent faculty are coming together at universities across the country to address improving their education services. Today, contingent faculty account for almost half of the academic workforce across the United States. Forty years ago they accounted for only one-fifth of faculty jobs.

Now that SU adjuncts have filed, the NLRB will decide on a date to hold a secret ballot election in which contingent faculty decide whether to form a union for quality education.

Seattle University contingent faculty have urged administration officials to remain neutral regarding their freedom to choose a union.