Tuesday, March 3, 2015

February Neighborhood Crime Report

Here are reports of crime provided by Spotcrime which links back to the Seattle Police website:

2/2    1:31pm   5000 block of 46th Avenue NE

2/14   1:44pm 5000 block of 47th Avenue NE

2/14  4:12pm   4500 block of 45th Avenue NE

2/17   8:38pm   5100 block of 47th Avenue NE

2/16 12:05pm   4800 block of NE 41st Street

2/16  5:13pm  4200 block of 51st Avenue NE

2/20   8:11am   4500 block of East Laurel Drive

2/20 12:15pm   3600 block of NE 47th Street

2/20   8:00pm   4700 block of 49th Avenue NE

2/23   5:27pm   4800 block of NE 43rd Street

2/25  9:40am 3 800 block of 42nd Avenue NE

2/28   2:46am  3200 block of West Laurelhurst Drive

Don't Miss Roosevelt High School's Performance Of "The Little Mermaid" This Week

Abby Jernberg

Roosevelt High School Drama students will be presenting Disney's musical,The Little Mermaid, starting tomorrow through Sunday with seven shows in four days, including three matinees.

Laurelhurst's Abby Jernberg will be performing as Ariel in several shows. She has grown up in the neighborhood, attended Laurelhurst Elementary School, and has been a lifeguard at the Beach Club.   

Elliott Moore, a high school junior, and also long time Laurelhurst resident and Laurelhurst Elementary alum, also has a lead role in the production. 

Roosevelt High School, which has the only full time drama program in the Seattle School District, was one of a few high schools across the country chosen by Disney to "pilot" the high school version of the musical, a Roosevelt parent told the Blog staff.

Ruben Van Kempen, long time Theater Director, recently announced his retirement on Instagram, saying "After 38 years of public education, I have decided to join my wife, Myrnie, in retirement starting this June."

The Roosevelt News recently printed this article: 
In 2015, only five high schools in the United States will be allowed to perform Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Roosevelt will be one of them.
Two years ago, the Walt Disney company conducted a nationwide search for high schools to perform a stage adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  
Ruben VanKempen, Roosevelt’s theater director, applied to perform the show in September 2013. Eight months later, VanKempen received an email from Disney Theatrical informing him that Roosevelt had been chosen to perform The Little Mermaid. 
Roosevelt’s drama department has performed stage adaptations of other Disney musicals over the years, such as 2013’s Beauty and the Beast and 2015’s upcoming Mary Poppins.  However, March 4th will be the drama department’s first production of The Little Mermaid.  
Student actors were required to attend a single audition in order to be considered for both The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins. Auditioning performers had to prepare and present 16 bars of a song from a published musical. Each actor was also required to learn two different dance combos on the day of the auditions.  
In the end, two different actresses were cast as the titular mermaid: seniors Abby Jernberg and Bay Loovis. Loovis says that her portrayal of Ariel will deviate from the film version. “I’m trying to stay fairly true to the movie, but I’m planning on making her more torn between her family and her own wants and needs. I feel like in the movie she kind of leaves her family without a second thought, and that doesn’t seem very realistic to me,” says Loovis. Jernberg adds that Ariel’s backstory is fleshed out more in the stage version, with greater emphasis placed on her mother’s death.  
Roosevelt’s production of The Little Mermaid diverges from the source film in other significant ways. “In general, whenever they make a musical out of a movie, there aren’t enough songs in the movie to make a full-length production,” explains Jernberg. The stage adaptation of Mermaid includes new musical numbers, such as “Her Voice,” sung by Prince Eric, and “If Only,” a quartet with Ariel, Eric, Sebastian and King Triton. Loovis also teases that the second act of the play is “pretty different from the movie,” but declines to elaborate.  
According to VanKempen, the biggest challenge of doing Mermaid on the Roosevelt stage is convincing audiences that the characters are underwater. Unlike last years’ winter production, The Grapes of Wrath, The Little Mermaid will not feature any water effects. Instead, hanging “kelp” and special lighting arrangements will be used to simulate the undersea environment. 
The Mermaid cast rehearses every day for between two and three hours after school, although rehearsals will eventually go until 8:00 at night (“That’s going to be tiring to say the least,” quips one cast member). VanKempen says that the cast’s rehearsal time will expand as props, costumes and other elements are incorporated into the production. “We’re trying to get it all done,” he explains.

Tickets are available for purchase here or at the door of the school (1410 NE 66th Street).
Show dates are: 
March 4 - 7:30pm 
March 5 - 3:30pm, 7:30pm. 
March 6 - 3:30pm, 7:30pm 
March 7 - 2:30pm, 7:30pm

(photo courtesy of The Roosevelt News)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Be Sure To Attend Public Meeting March 17th On Whether City Approves Adding More Portables To Laurelhurst Elementary School Playgrounds

The first meeting of the Laurelhurst Elementary School Design Departure Committee, open to the public, will be held on Tuesday, March 17, at 6:30pm in the School Cafeteria.

The public is encourage to attend and give their input during the public comment period. If residents cannot attend the meeting, written comments can be submitted to the address below.

"We hope to see a very big showing of concerned neighbors and school parents.  This meeting could be the only opportunity to voice opposition to a permanent increase of Laurelhurst School lot coverage zoning," Christi Nagle, heading up the "Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning," a group of concerned Laurelhurst Elementary parents said.

The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) sent out this information:

Meeting scheduled to discuss zoning change request for Laurelhurst Elementary School
Public is invited to attend and provide comments on March 17 

A public meeting is scheduled to discuss the Seattle School District’s request for a waiver from City zoning regulations regarding Laurelhurst Elementary School. The request is to modify current regulations to allow additional portable classrooms above the allowed lot coverage of 45%.
This meeting will include a presentation on the requested modification before the Development Standards Departure Advisory Committee, a group composed of neighbors and School District and City representatives that is formed to address School District requests for a zoning departure. After the presentation, the public is invited to make comments concerning the request.   
Following public testimony, the committee will make a recommendation to either grant outright, grant with conditions, or deny the requested zoning modifications; or it can decide to hold additional meetings. The final decision is made by the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.  
If the public cannot attend the meeting, written comments can be submitted to:

Steve Sheppard
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
700 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
P.O. Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

Here is the list of the Departure Committee members  who will advise the City on whether  up to four more portables should be added to the two already small playgrounds at Laurelhurst Elementary School.

The 30-90 day process will follow these steps as outlined on the DON website.
"Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning" is against higher lot coverage and the addition of more portables stating that:
  • Studies confirm that quality outdoor play space is critical for healthy learning. Open space that now serves as basketball, soccer, kickball and football play areas would be eliminated.
  • Families in the neighborhood benefit from the school’s recently upgraded playground (funded by neighbors -­‐ not SPS), whether it’s during school, evenings or weekends.
  • Laurelhurst already has the smallest lot size of all 11 NE elementary schools, in addition to the highest building:lot ratio.
  • More portables do not guarantee smaller class sizes.
  • Portables are inferior to permanent classrooms due to their isolation from the school community (safety concerns, less collaboration, less access to facilities), lack of natural light and HVAC issues.
  • Seattle Public School District needs to solve its growth issues without taking critical playground away from our kids and community.
The Laurelhurst Community Club is also not in favor of additional portables stating that the "district must find a permanent solution under the edict from the State Legislature. Taking away existing needed playground space was never the intent of city codes, nor the Seattle School District."

LCC also added:Traffic impacts must be considered-access from the very congested NE 45th St, local neighborhood parking for extra staff (there is no parking lot).
Loss of recreational space for existing children cannot be minimized or dismissed. Healthy bodies and healthy minds are linked. Obesity rates are climbing, and kids need more movement. Playground social skills are also a place where academic rankings are set aside for good fun, and away from electronics.  
The City had building and zoning codes for a reason, and any variance must be granted only if due process is followed to the letter of the law.
Seattle Public Schools released designs drawn up by Harthorne Hagen Architects, showing in detail two options for the placement of the portables.
First option:
  • 2 double portables on the North playground - 28 x 64' foot taking up 1,792 square feet.
  • One right along the north fence that runs along NE 47th Street
  • The other just to the north of the current second grade portable along 47th Avenue NE.
  • No portables on the south playground.
  • The design shows the kickball area moved just next to the NE 47th Street portable and 2 four square courts moved alongside this area.
  • These portables would eliminate a popular, heavily used large play area where currently a large number of students play organized games of  kickball, fliers, soccer and foursquare, as well as just general play by various students.
 Second option:
  • 2 single portables on the North playground - 28x32' portables, each immediately to the north of the existing LASER portables, occupying 896 square feet each
  • 1  double portable on the south playground - 28 x 64 ', occupying 1,792 square feet, along  the west fence bordering 46th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street.
  • This south playground portable would take up the entire narrower southwest part of the playground, eliminating both heavily used basketball court and several four square courts.
  • Thee design shows the new location for 3 - four square courts and 2 basketball courts in the southeast corner of the playground along NE 45th Street and 47th Avenue NE, currently where large number of kids play kickball and soccer.
  • This proposal eliminates the area where a large number of children play "Fliers," soccer, kickball, foursquare  and soccer and have generally play.
The Laurelhurst Blog Staff continues to receive many emails from concerned neighbors living close to the school commenting that the additional portables:
  • changes feel of residential neighborhood
  • changes tone of neighborhood  with that type of density and  structure - metals shells with aluminum ramps  and windowless shacks
  • gives residential, cozy neighborhood an industrial feel
  • devalues neighborhood
  • significant loss of valuable open space
  • highly negative visual impact for neighbors living in close proximity to the school ,as well as, current and future students and general neighborhood having to look at the ugly structures
  • loss of open space not only for students, but for community as a whole who use the playground seven days a week
  • potential for prospective families to not choose the neighborhood to live in lowering school enrollment and ultimately school funding, as well as property values
For more information about the "Parents for Playgrounds and Proper Planning," contact Christi Nagle at christinagle@yahoo.com or call 529-­‐9296.
For information on the Departure process contact Steve Sheppard, with the Department of Neighborhoods, at Steve.sheppard@seattle.gov or go here.
For more detailed information about the issue go here.  And go here for information about the portable that was delivered in August then removed.
And here is a KING 5 news report on the issue.
(Photo: KING 5 News)






Drop-in Programs At Community Center

The Laurelhurst Community Center offers several ongoing drop-in programs.

For more information about these programs contact the Community Center Monday through Friday 9-2pm or by calling 684-7529.
Indoor Toddler Playland   Ages: 4 and younger
Wednesdays 9:30 a.m.-noon at Laurelhurst Community Center  
Closed for summer:  July 1-Aug 26
Get out of the cold weather and into a play land filled with toys to keep your little ones busy! 
It features a mini bounce house, kitchen set, push bikes, blocks, trains, tunnels and more!
American Mahjong  Mondays noon-3 p.m. $3 per person/$2 ages 65+
Drop in play for Intermediate/Advanced players. 
Book Club 3rd Wednesday of the month from 1-2.p.m.  FREE
Pick up the current book at the community center.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bidding Starts Monday For Laurelhurst Elementary School Auction

Laurelhurst Elementary School's annual on-line auction, the largest fundraiser of the year put on by the PTA,  opens for bidding on Monday and is live until Friday, March 13 at 1am.  

The eBay style online auction s open to all friends, neighbors and family. One-hundred percent of auction proceeds are reinvested back into the school to support programs including music, art, technology, tutors and more.

We'd love to invite your subscribers to check it out," Bev, one of the coordinators told us.

She added:

As a fellow subscriber, I think your audience will find the online auction of interest due to the large variety of items we'll have to bid on.  Furthermore, so many Laurelhurst residents have some relationship to the school - past or present - and I think the auction is a great way to support the kids, teachers and staff, while bidding on some exciting items.  
With your bid, not only do you have the chance of winning some great items, but you are also helping Laurelhurst Elementary School to continue to provide so many opportunities that make Laurelhurst so great. 
The money earned is used to provide the students at our neighborhood public school with both critical staffing and exciting enrichment programs that make our school great.
The Laurelhurst PTA financially supports many programs that would not be provided at our school otherwise including an Art Program, Full Day Instrumental Music, Vocal/General Music, and even basics for classroom supplies, library books and technology support. 
Over 300 items are available to bid on, many donated from local, neighborhood businesses including:
  • Spa and beauty treatments
  • Sports Memorabilia, included signed Russell Wilson, Dwaine Wade, and Reggie Bush jerseys 
  • Gift certificates for lots of great restaurants 
  • Gift certificates for many local retailers 
  • Deals on many summer camps 
  • Lots of gym memberships & personal trainers 
  • Tickets to popular sports & entertainments events
  • Trips to Mexico, Seabrook, Snowbird, Whistler, and Vashon Island 

Go here to sign in  to start bidding on Monday.


Sunglasses Found At Park

The Blog Staff received this information:

My son found some sunglasses in the bushes at the park on Monday afternoon, February 23rd. 
They are Prada wrap style glasses. I am assuming they're real so probably somewhat expensive.  
We would love to be able to return them to the owner.
Please contact laurelhurstblogger@gmail.com for more information.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bill Fails At State Level Yesterday That Would Have Provided Notice To Surrounding Neighbors Of Tall, Skinny Homes Built On SideYards Of Upcoming Construction

Tall, skinny house under construction
on former side yard on NE 40th Street in 2012

Yesterday in Olympia, State Representatives Pollet, Tarleton, Ryu, Santos and Gregerson tried to get passed legislation (HB 1084), trying to force the City of Seattle to provide the surrounding neighbors with official notice when the Seattle Department of Planning and Development is considering allowing a developer to build a new, full-size home in the backyard or side yard of an existing home.

One Home Per Lot, a multi-neighborhood Seattle-wide grassroots movement fighting small, skinny homes, which also includes Laurelhurst residents, sent out this update following yesterday's meeting:
Thank you to all who wrote, emailed and made phone calls in support of state house bill 1084, which would have forced the city of Seattle to provide neighborhood notice whenever a new home is proposed for construction in a single-family neighborhood.
Unfortunately, we just learned that the bill failed to be voted out of committee (the first step for any state legislation). That means it's dead and will no longer be considered this year.  
This is the second year in a row that the bill failed to be voted out of committee. It often takes several tries, so maybe next year state representatives will be more supportive of Seattle's neighborhoods. 
In the meantime, we continue to wait for the Seattle city council to consider similar legislation.
The Laurelhurst Community Club supported the bill saying:
Without this change in law, neighborhoods have 21 days to challenge a land use decision—but they have no notice of the decision. This is not due process. With the pressure for increased density, property lots continue to be subdivided far below the lot size specified in Seattle’s Land Use Code, as there are exceptions that allow this with no notice to affected neighbors.   
These new developments more often than not exceed height and lot coverage restrictions and setback requirements.  Neighbors should have an opportunity to comment before the bulldozers show up. Affected neighbors and community councils should have notice of proposed development on these undersized lots, an opportunity to comment and the right to appeal to the Hearing Examiner.  Currently, this exception is considered a Type 1 decision with no notice, opportunity to comment or appeal to the Hearing Examiner.
Zoning loopholes, exploited by some developers, have resulted in building inconsistent with the height, bulk and scale of surrounding homes on lots as small as 1,050 square feet in Single Family 5,000 zones.  This infill development is destroying the character of neighborhoods with major adverse valuation and aesthetic impacts upon surrounding homes.  In addition, existing privacy evaporates with the new intrusive views, and window placements.
Nick,  a Laurelhurst resident, who lives near a tall, skinny house, wrote in a Blog post in 2012 about his experience with a new construction home right across from him, titled, There Goes The Neighborhood — And Yours May Be Next saying "It could happen to you with no warning."

John, who lives directly behind the new home, commented in a Seattle Times article, that the looming presence over his back yard is like “a guard tower.” He said the neighbors had no notice from the city or the developer that a new house was being crammed in between two existing houses, on what had been the old house’s yard.

The house, southeast of Laurelhurst Park, sits on a piece of property only 30 feet wide, which was segmented out of a larger one only 80 feet wide leaving only three feet in between the houses.  The house covers all the land, except for 10 feet of the house's previous yard.

Dan Duffus, a developer, is well-known around the city for building these tall skinny houses on very small lots, of which the houses are  modern in style, towering over the established homes beneath them and don't fit in with the character of the neighborhood.

For more information on the issue go here and here to learn more about One Home Per Lot.

Audubon Society Field Trip Saturday To Union Bay Natural Area

The Seattle Audubon Society is having a  birding fieldtrip on Saturday to Laurelhurst's Montlake Fill, also knows as the Union Bay Natural Area.

The information says:
All are welcome on this trip to an urban oasis.  We will focus on using not only sight but also sound to identify and observe as many bird species as possible; should be at least 40!   
At this time of the year the Fill offers wintering water- and songbirds, raptors, and often produces a nice surprise as well, including the possibility of the earliest spring migrants!   
Expect to walk up to 3 leisurely paced miles on level but very muddy ground.  Bring binoculars and dress to stay warm and dry while being exposed to the wintry elements.   
Please note that facilities will likely not be available on-site, but you can first stop by the QFC at nearby University Village.  Scopes welcome if you’re willing to carry it (leader will have one).  Over by noon.
The leader is Evan Houston (field trip day only 206-327-5352. Meet at 7:30am at the Center for Urban Horticulture east parking log by the Douglas building and greenhouse. 

For a complete list of fieldtrips and more information go here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some Interesting History Of Laurelhurst's "Town Of Yesler"

The Friends of Yesler Swamp, located in Laurelhurst, has published a variety of posts regarding the history of Yesler Swamp, including history of the area from settlement, sawmill, town of Yesler, historic photos, videos, source notes and more.

The website says:

Most people know that Henry Yesler once ran a mill in downtown Seattle at the foot of what we now call Yesler way. But what does Yesler Swamp have to do with the famous Seattle pioneer? Find out the answer to this and lots more.
Here is one of the excerpts from their Blog about Henry Yesler, for whom the "Town Of Yesler" is named in Laurelhurst. Yesler built a sawmill poised in an advantageous location near where the Center of Urban Horticulture is today, to take advantage of the timber boom.  


In the late 1880’s, Henry Yesler and his company bought 23 acres of land on the western edge of Surber’s property.[17] There, near where the Center for Urban Horticulture stands today, Yesler built the saw mill on the north shore of Union Bay. This early map [18] shows Yesler’s property and the Seattle Ice Company, which occupied about half an acre next to Yesler’s mill:

Baist Map 1912
In Yesler’s day, the shores around Lake Washington were being rapidly logged to supply the demand for lumber for Seattle and for shipment down the coast to San Francisco. Laurelhurst was largely stripped of trees, most likely sawn into lumber at Yesler’s mill.

“Union Bay looking east from the UW campus ca. 1916,” University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections UWC 1856.
Yesler’s Mill was ideally situated to take advantage of the timber boom. Logs could be floated on giant rafts from the forests circling Lake Washington. By 1887, the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad had reached the north shore of Union Bay, following the route that is now the Burke-Gilman trail.[19] In 1888, the railroad arrived at “Yesler Junction,” a depot behind present day University Village at 30th Avenue NE.[20]

“Lake Shore & Eastern Railway,” University of Washington Special Collections 5473
Soon after, a railroad spur connected the main line to Yesler’s mill along what is now Mary Gates Drive. An 1895 map shows the route of the railway and the spur to Yesler’s mill.[21]

“Montlake ditch, n.d.,” University of Washington Libraries Special Collection University of Washington, Special Collections UW 4291.
Timber reached Yesler’s saw mill by water, and finished lumber could be shipped to market by either rail or water. Competing sawmills on Lake Union and in Seattle were at a disadvantage here because before the Montlake cut was opened in 1916, logs had to be dragged to mills on Lake Union or Seattle across the narrow isthmus of land connecting the lakes.
The waters over Yesler Swamp served as a mill pond for storing logs. The 1904 map clearly shows the trestle and log booms stretching from the mill into Union Bay for loading lumber and logs.[22] Today when the lake is low, you can still see the ancient pilings from the trestle along the west side of Yesler Swamp.
Jim Thompson, who spent his boyhood in the area near Yesler Swamp, recalls how the logs were moved from the booms into the mill run:
“Be certain that you know how the logs were towed from the log boom where the apartments are now on the North side of Madison and then positioned in the mill run for the recut at the mill. These were 4-5 feet diameter and or larger and sometimes 100 ft ++ long thus they were very difficult to maneuver.“[23]
By 1892, the Yesler mill reportedly supported 36 employees who could cut “7,500 board feet of lumber every twelve hours.”[24]

Photo courtesy of Paul Dorpat

Although he became a wealthy businessman and was twice elected mayor of Seattle, Yesler was engaged in constant litigation. In the 17 year period between 1872 and 1889, Yesler was involved in over 150 lawsuits in King County. In many of these court fights, Yesler was either trying to collect money or was being sued for money owed to his creditors. Toward the end of his life, Yesler was beset by dozens of collections, foreclosures, and liens again his property.[25]
The Pacific Northwest in the early 1890’s suffered a severe business depression. One writer in 1917 stated: “There was little demand for real estate and security values had decreased to an alarming extent.”[26] Today, we would say that Yesler’s property was “under water” with debt exceeding its value.

Eventually, Yesler’s nephew, James D. Lowman, was appointed trustee for Yesler’s affairs, and Lowman assumed control and management of Yesler’s property and businesses.
Yesler died on December 16, 1892, and – like Joe Surber – he was buried in Lake View Cemetery.[27]

Following his death, Lowman continued to manage the Yesler businesses. In 1895, the saw mill on Union Bay was destroyed when it burned “rather spectacularly.” After the fire, Yesler’s company constructed a shingle mill in its place, which operated until it too burned in the 1920’s.[28] Jim Thompson recalls, “The smoke from the sawdust piles was prevalent for many years after.”[29]

By 1925, Yesler’s company owned a little more than four acres out of the original 23 acres at the Union Bay site.[30]

In 1927, the University of Washington bought the land where was Yesler’s mill once stood.[31] Nothing was left of Henry Yesler’s businesses on Union Bay except for the community that still bears his name.

"Meet An Engineer Night" At Northeast Branch Library Tomorrow

Meet an Engineer Night

The Northeast branch of the Seattle Public Library (6801 35th Avenue NE) is having "Meet An Engineer Night" from 6:30-7:30pm tomorrow evening. 

The information says:

Find out what it takes to pursue a career as an engineer.  Join The Seattle Public Library and Pacific Science Center as we celebrate Engineers Week with programs that introduce youth to the wonder of engineering and the importance of science literacy!

Love computer games? Meet a computer engineer from the UW Center for Game Science who builds games that are fun and solves real world problems. Also on hand will be two veteran engineers, one civil and one electrical, who can answer real career questions.

Warm beverages and snacks provided. For ages 12 and up.
For more information go here.