Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Local Well-Known Birdist Giving Lecture Saturday On Birds' Feet


 UW Botanic Gardens: Birds' Feet with Connie Sidles

Connie Sidles, local neighborhood bird watcher , who maintains a blog documenting the many types of birds, including beautiful pictures, at the nearby Union Bay Natural Area, also known as the Montlake Fill as well as author of Fill of Joy and Tales from the Montlake Fill is having a lecture on Saturday from 10-11:30am at the Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st Street) called "Birds' Feet."
The information says:
This class will show you how birds use their feet to survive. Fall is the season in which we have the greatest bird species diversity in Seattle, and is a great time to see a wide variety of foot adaptations. 
Bird feet? When you think about it, all feet are adapted for each species's lifestyles - including ours. I could not hang upside-down by my toes, for example, to gather my morning breakfast as chickadees and bushtits do. How would I drink my coffee? 
One way to observe birds in the field is to pay attention to what they are doing, rather than trying to identify their species. It's true that if you can name the species of a bird you see in the wild, and if you have studied your field guides, the name alone will be a shorthand way to call to mind the natural history of that species. But you can also understand at least a part of each bird's natural history by simply observing it as it performs its tasks of daily living.  
Feet are a big factor that allows birds to survive but also limits how they do so. In some ways, studying one aspect of a bird's anatomical adaptations  - like feet - brings us closer to that bird's life. And feet are just plain fun, or funny, as anyone who has studied how cormorants try to maneuver their big feet around the too-small branch of a cottonwood tree can attest.

Tickets are $25 and you can register at UWBotanic Gardens.
For more information, contact Connie at

Public Invited To UW Farm To Table Dinner Tomorrow

The UW Farm is partnering with Chaco Canyon Cafe in hosting a public Farm-to-Table Dinner at the Center for Urban Horticulture tomorrow at 6:30pm.  Along with dinner there will also be games, pumpkin carving and a food  demo.

The information says:
Farm to TableYou’ll be treated to a knockout meal, incorporating UW Farm produce, from the chefs at Chaco Canyon CafĂ©. Local microbrews will also be available for purchase.

Tickets are $13 in advance or $15 at the door for students, and $20 in advance or $25 at the door for non-students.

All proceeds go to the UW Farm, the campus hub for urban farming, agricultural education and research.
If you would like to see more about us, check out website: and Facebook:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Neighbor Sees Suspicious People With Flashlights And Big Bags Looking For Items To Steal

The Laurelhurst Blog received this email:

I wanted to pass along some information that other neighbors might want to know.
Early Saturday morning, October 18, around 3:45am I returned home from work and happened to stay in my parked car with the ignition and lights off near the corner of NE 40th Street and 48th Avenue NE to finish listening to the news. 
I was very surprised to see two African American women dressed in all black in their late twenties carrying several large duffle bags walking up west on NE 40th Street toward 48th Avenue NE.    
The women were walking on either side of parked cars, one walking in the street, the other on the sidewalk.   As they passed cars one used a small flashlight systematically inspecting each car.  As the other passed houses she shined lights down driveways, at garages and between alleys. 
They were very surprised when they shined a light in my car to see me!   They quickly moved west on NE 40th Street, turned the corner onto 48th Avenue NE and got into a car and sped away. 
It was very disturbing as they seemed very organized, systematic and had clearly made off with quite a lot of our neighbors personal items judging by the size of the filled bags.

Family History Workshop Tomorrow At Northeast Library

Family History Storytelling

The Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public Library is having an event tomorrow from 6-7:45pm called "Family History Storytelling."

The information says:
Every family has interesting stories. Learn how to tell them in this innovative workshop presented by genealogy librarian Mahina Oshie.   
Come to learn about techniques and resources in the library, in the community, and on the Internet for uncovering, recording, writing and publishing your own family history stories.
For more information go here. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Important Credential Papers Stolen In Recent Car Prowl

The Laurelhurst Blog Staff received this email:
Just another frustrated neighbor complaining about a car break in.   
We live on the 4800 block of NE 40th Street, one block from the park.  On Friday evening, October, 17, I must have inadvertently left my car unlocked, and they took everything in it.   
My dog and I are work as an animal- assisted pet therapy team and they took my bag.  It has lots of  dog stuff, like leashes harnesses, etc.  
Most importantly, it has the credentials that allow us to enter facilities to do our work.  The bag is brown and white polka dotted and has a Ronald McDonald House logo on it.   
If anyone sees it, I'd really like to have it back.  I can't imagine the petty thieves have any use for the contents, and I'm hoping they tossed it in the bushes somewhere.

Public Meeting Tomorrow on Radioactive Contamination Cleanup at Magnuson Park

Tomorrow from 6-9pm, the Department of Ecology is holding a public meeting at the Mountaineers, about the cleanup of radioactive contamination at Magnuson Park.

The information says:
The agencies working to clean up low-level radiation from two former naval maintenance rooms at Seattle’s
Magnuson Park will provide updates and answer questions.    
Cleanup work by contractors for the U.S. Navy has been under way since June 2013. The Navy used the rooms to repaint aircraft cockpit dials with glow-in-the-dark radium paint in the 1940s and 1950s. The Navy owned and operated an air station at what is now Magnuson Park and is responsible for cleanup of all contamination left from its operations. 
Park areas open for public use and access have undergone review and testing for contamination. Radiological contamination was found in parts of Buildings 2 and 27, both former aircraft hangars.  
Building 2 is used for park equipment storage, and has a small area used as offices by the Seattle Conservation Corps. Arena Sports, an indoor athletic facility, is located in Building 27. A former radium-painting room at Building 27 was in an annex, referred to as the south shed, separate from the sports facility. The annex and nearby contaminated grounds are fenced, locked, and closed to public access. 
The Navy is conducting its work under federal cleanup laws that apply to former and current military facilities. Washington’s departments of Ecology and Health are providing additional oversight. Health is the state’s radiation safety regulator.  
Repeated Navy and Health Department tests have confirmed that no radiation above background level – the amount of radiation naturally present in rocks and soil – is present in the Arena Sports complex. The Navy has completed its interior cleanup of the annex and plans to dismantle it this month, after Health has verified that all contamination has been removed.   
Site investigations and cleanup work continue at outdoor areas near these locations, primarily along storm drains connected to the buildings. Further phases of the Navy’s investigation will include the lake bottom in areas near the storm drain outfalls at the north end of the park.
The open house will start at 6 p.m. and  presentations will start at 7 p.m. Ecology will host presentations by the U.S. Navy, the Washington Department of Health Office of Radiation Protection, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, Ecology representatives, and 46th District Representative Gerry Pollet.

 Seattle Parks and Recreation sent out this information published by The Washington Department of Health:

Radiation and Your Health - Magnuson Park

What is radiation?
Radiation is energy given off by atoms and is present in nature all around us. Everyone is exposed to radiation every day from natural sources in soil or from the sun, and you may be exposed from man-made sources like medical X-rays and smoke detectors. You cannot see, smell or taste radiation.

Is radiation dangerous?

We are exposed to natural radiation every day. Man-made radiation is an important part of modern life when properly controlled. But uncontrolled radiation can be dangerous. Also some types of radioactive materials are more dangerous to people than other types. So, it’s important to carefully manage radiation and radioactive substances to protect health and the environment. This includes finding and cleaning up areas where radiation was used in the past in order to protect people today and in the future.

How was the radiation found and measured at Magnuson Park?

At Magnuson Park, the Navy tested the area for possible contamination after reviewing historical drawings that showed a “radium room” and an “instrument room” were in use in two buildings from the mid-1940s to early 1950s. Radiation “dose” – or how much someone could receive from a radiation source – is measured with special equipment. The Rem is a unit that measures what effect radiation has on tissue. Radiation is used at different levels to do things like see the structure of a bone or – at higher levels – kill cancer cells. Dose is often shown as millirem or mrem, which is 1/1,000th of a rem: 1,000 mrem equals 1 rem.

What about the radiation that’s been found at Magnuson Park?

Radiation from earlier airplane instrument repair work by the Navy has been detected above the level that federal law requires cleanup. We believe that people have no risk of health problems from this level of radiation mainly because the public has no access to contaminated areas. These areas still need to be cleaned up because we don’t know how this property might be used in the future.
In April 2013, both the Navy and the Washington State Department of Health tested public areas of Building 27 – now Arena Sports – for radon, a gas that can result from radium. Test results found no radon gas in any public areas of the building.

Have City of Seattle employees been exposed to the contamination?

Contamination from radiation was found in part of Building 2 – now a parks storage building – and the south shed behind Building 27 – now housing Arena Sports. The contamination was found under layers of carpet, vinyl flooring, and piping, or was covered by asphalt or layers of soil. The only way contamination could seep through those coverings would be as radon gas. However tests found no radon gas was present.

Are there tests that can tell if I have been exposed to radiological contamination?

There are lab tests that can show if you have been exposed to high levels of radiological contamination. However, those tests won’t work for the levels that have been found at Magnuson Park because those levels are too low to be detected.

How bad is the contamination?

The Navy found radiological contamination in and around Buildings 2 and 27. Contaminated areas in the buildings are secured and not open to the public. The Navy’s cleanup plan is under review by the state Departments of Health and Ecology. The Navy and the Department of Health both tested several areas within the Arena Sports area for radon. Radon is formed when radium turns into a gas in the air. We found no radon in the part of the building that is open to the public.

How many people will get cancer from radiation at Magnuson Park?

We think it is unlikely that anyone will get cancer from being exposed to radiological contamination found at Magnuson Park. During the cleanup, the Navy will test the air and soil to make sure contaminated dust is not released. The Department of Health will continuously test air quality inside and outside the buildings to ensure the public is protected.

I play on the soccer field and already have health problems - could these be caused by the contamination?

We think it’s unlikely that radiation could cause any health problems because no contamination has been found in public areas of buildings 2 and 27.

I use the Arena Sports facility. Am I at risk from this contamination?

No. When the Navy tested the site in 2010, no contamination was found in the areas of Building 2 formerly used by Arena Sports or in Building 27 currently used by Arena Sports. Members of the public haven’t been exposed to radiological contamination in either building.

What are the Federal and State guidelines for the cleanup of the radiological contamination?

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines call for cleanup for any site where tests show radioactivity higher than 15 mrem per year. State Department of Health guidelines call for cleanup at or above 25 mrem per year. There is no other state guideline for radiation cleanup. The Department of Health tested several outdoor areas at Magnuson Park in April 2013 and found levels that were in the range of 4-10 microrem, which is the same as background levels of radiation. A microrem is an even smaller amount: 1/1,000,000th of a rem.
For comparison purposes, radioactivity is present in our bodies at about 29 mrem per year. Getting a chest X-ray gives us 10 mrem per X-ray. A dental X-ray is 1 mrem per X-ray. Even flying in an airplane exposes us to 0.3 mrem per hour. We’re also exposed to radiation from space, including the sun.

Will the radiological contractors get tested?

The radiological contractors wear special equipment called dosimeters that measure exposure to radiation. None of the dosimeters worn by the workers have shown exposure to radiation.

What will happen to contaminated materials after they’re removed?

Contaminated materials will be classified as low-level radioactive waste, placed in specially lined containers that are sealed according to Department of Transportation regulations and loaded into trucks for transport to a licensed disposal facility. There are licensed facilities in Richland, WA, and in Idaho.

If I have other health questions, who can I call?

For answers to your questions about radiation and your health, you can call the Washington State Department of Health’s toll-free Consumer Information Line at 800-525-0127.

Below is more information on the site and the cleanup process, as well as access to the documents on which Ecology seeks comment:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Neighbor Has Car Broken Into Then Few Weeks Later Packages Stolen

The Laurelhurst Blog Staff received this email:

I  wanted to make other Laurelhurst neighbors aware that the petty crime in our neighborhood is continuing and to keep their eyes peeled. We live on the 4100 block of 42nd Ave NE and back up to Talaris.  
Approximately 3 weeks ago my husband's new car was rummaged through in the middle of the night.  He had accidentally left it unlocked but when he went out the following morning to go to work all of the contents of the glove box, center console and his briefcase were strewn all over the car. Nothing major was stolen, or even present in the car to begin with, thanks to warnings from other neighbors and LCC. It was very disturbing.
Then again this past Monday, we had two packages stolen from our front porch. Whoever took them must have been really bold because they had to come through our fully fenced front yard to take them off of our front porch.  
Luckily the supplier was willing to replace and re-send both packages this week. We absolutely love our neighborhood but are disturbed by this recurring issue and recently had a full security system installed. I hope we are in some way able to get this under control.

Harvest Time Storytime Tomorrow At Center For Urban Horticulture Library


Miller Library, located in Laurelhurst at the UW Botanic Gardens (3501 NE 41st Street)  is celebrating 10 years or story programs, with a special Harvest Time holding storytime tomorrow at 10:30am. 
The librarian will read about pumpkins and winter squash. After the stories, children will use pastels to capture a close-up view of some fall vegetables.

Books to be read are:

SOPHIE'S SQUASH by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf

Storytime is geared towards children ages 3 to 8 and celebrate gardens, plants and nature. All ages and their families are welcome.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Family Fun "Monster Bash" Saturday At St. Stephens



(Pony rides last year)

Three Feet of Sunshine is holding its 6th annual Monster Bash, benefitting Seattle Children's Pediatric Advanced Care Team, this Saturday from 3-7pm.
New this year will be two performances by Recess Monkey at 4pm and 5pm.

The event will again be held at
St. Stephen's Church (4805 NE 45th Street) rain or shine.

Admission fee is $13 and includes reusable trick-or-treat bags, the popular haunted house, pumpkin decorating, costume contest and parade, pony rides, pumpkin painting, kid's dj and dancing, crafts, popcorn, cotton candy, Yummy Mummy Cupcake Walk, courtesy of Trophy Cupcakes, games  and a cauldron full of prizes. Craven Farm will also supply kids with their very own pumpkins to take home.
In celebration of the 5th annual event, there will be two performances by the popular kids' band, Caspar Babypants (also known as Chris Ballew, lead singer of Presidents of the United States of America).  Guests will also be treated to festive and re-usable Trick-OR-Treat totes.
Coming in costume is encouraged. And if you bring a new, unused costume for a Seattle Children's patient you will receive a special treat.
Three Feet of Sunshine was established by Amy and Klane White, Laurelhurst residents, in July 2009 in memory of their daughter, Susannah, who spent the last year of her life at Seattle Children's, in the care of the palliative and nursing teams at Children's Hospital.
The logo was actually designed by Susannah at 8 years old. And the name, Three Feet of Sunshine, came from a friend of Susannah's who wrote a tribute to Susannah with that title, about about their friendship, as an assignment in 9th grade.

Amy says on her
website that Three Feet of Sunshine "strive(s) to showcase Susannah's ever sunny disposition by sharing her sunny disposition with other children facing difficult paths.  The Guild is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and families who bear the weight of potentially life-threatening illnessesWe raise awareness and funds aimed at providing opportunities and extending support programs devoted to enhancing quality of life for pediatric patients and their families."

Making a donation is considered tax deductible, as it is 501(c)(3) organization, and is a member of Seattle Children's Guild Association.
For more information about the organization go here, visit the Facebook page or Seattle Children's Hospital website.

Is The Seattle Police Department "Ignoring" North Seatlle Burglarie?

A Laurelhurst Blog reader sent us this article to share published by KIRO-TV last month titled:

Leaked memo: SPD ignoring most N. Seattle burglaries

SEATTLE -- A confidential memo leaked to KOMO 4 News contains a bombshell admission by the city's police department. The document says north precinct detectives are too short-staffed to investigate most burglaries.

A police source said that unless burglary detectives have a suspect's name, evidence photos or surveillance footage, and complete witness interviews, it's unlikely a case will even get worked let alone solved.

Pete Rogerson works with Seattle police through the North Precinct Advisory Council, where he offers citizen input on police operations. Rogerson said in all his years in that role, he's never seen anything like this memo.

"I think this memo is very troubling," he said.

The memo is marked confidential and not for public display, but what it says about burglary investigations could trouble anyone.

"It's very surprising," Rogerson said. "I cannot believe this is the case."

The memo says at one point, 14 detectives worked burglary, theft and juvenile cases for the north precinct. Today it's down to two detectives and an on-loan patrol officer, even though the memo says cases have climbed to 1,500 a month. The memo concludes, "misdemeanor and even many felony crimes can no longer be investigated except on a very rare, case by case basis."

"This seems like a big problem," Rogerson said. "We're just asking for trouble."

Seattle police won't divulge staffing levels in the north precinct, saying it keeps the bad guys guessing.

However, a spokesperson said the major crimes task force also takes on burglary cases. Additionally, the department uses real-time data and community input to guide where resources are deployed.

Milana Richardson, a north Seattle resident, said officers do a good job focusing on violent crime but that didn't help when burglars stole from her home.

"I told the police. I took their license plate down. I had their name, I looked them up, where they lived, and I had no response (from police)," Richardson said.

Mayor Ed Murray hopes to add 100 new officers in the coming years, though that's not likely to help the lack of burglary detectives today.

"Adding more officers is not the sole solution to addressing our public safety needs," the mayor said, "but it clearly needs to be part of the solution."

By all accounts, crime safety experts said still vital to report all crimes because that information plays out in how limited police resources get assigned.