Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Median In Front Of Talaris To Be Finally Cleaned Up Today Or Tomorrow LCC Reports

NE 41st Street overgrown medians near Talaris

The Laurelhurst Blog staff has heard from many neighbors that live near Talaris and that drive in that area that the medians on NE 41st Street have become quite overgrown.

Neighbors wrote:
Can you please let us  know if there is a plan to beautify the center planting beds on NE 41st Street near Talaris and west toward Mary Gates?  There are three offending beds that need attention starting at NE 41st Street and 40th Avenue NE and run parallel to the unkempt Talaris property where Laurelhurst kids once were able to play but is now fenced.  All last spring and summer they looked a mess and it is an embarrassment to our lovely neighborhood.  We had read of a plan but then nothing happened.  Perhaps neighbors can contribute to a fund to have ongoing maintenance done on these once lovely medians.   
The planting beds at the Talaris property are such an eyesore.  This stretch of roadway serves as an entrance to our lovely neighborhood and is a poor first impression.
I have  lived on 41st Avenue NE for 45 years.  We desperately need help on the median strip in front of Talaris Grounds.  In all the years, I have never seen it so bad.  Please let me know when the work party will be so I can join in. 
Whose in charge of these beds?  I've been told some of them are the responsibility of CUH, but surely not that one. We all know the UW is strapped for money and this would not be a priority. Some of us have donated extra money in the past for the upkeep of these medians, but they rarely look terrific. Have other solutions been forthcoming?  How about using a neighborhood volunteer clean-up crew?  Perhaps we need to be responsible for more of our neighborhood.

Laurelhurst Community Club  (LCC) said that LCC has agreements with the UW and Talaris regarding maintenance of the planted median and the pedestrian refuge island on Surber. 

The agreement says that the UW would take care of the first third, from Mary Gates/NE 41st to about the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH.). Then LCC would take care of the middle third and Talaris the portions adjacent to their property, including the pedestrian refuge island on Surber and the median at the bottom of Suicide Hill. 

LCC added:
The first problem that surfaced several years ago was that the UW told us they were broke and couldn’t take care of their portion for now.  Following that, LCC started paying our regular landscaping company to maintain that portion. 

Talaris changed property managers and their groundskeeper as well several years ago, so that whole stretch was a mess for a long time although neighbors pitched in on occasion.   
LCC then followed up, at the time, and met with the property manager explaining their responsibilities—specifically mentioning the two neglected parcels.  Talaris  started taking care of the medians adjacent to their property, but not the one at the bottom of Suicide Hill or the pedestrian refuge island. 
LCC also said that the a neighborhood volunteer clean-up crew works each year to clean up the area.

This year the clean-up is scheduled for tomorrow and Friday. 

LCC has hired a gardener who cleaned up the medians in past years at the personal expense of a neighbor, so he is familiar with the job. This time, LCC will pick up the tab.

"So, it should be looking a lot better soon," LCC told the Laurelhurst Blog staff.

For neighborhood participation to maintain the area, contact who will coordinate with the LCC contact.

Celebrate National Wildflower Week At Laurelhurst's Miller Library Storytime

columbine flower

Miller Library, located in Laurelhurst at the UW Botanic Gardens (3501 NE 41st Street)  is holding a story time on Saturday from 10:30-11:15am, with the theme of celebrating National Wildflower Week, the first week of May.

The information says:
We're celebrating with a look at our local wildflowers and some of the plants and animals with which they are linked in ecosystems.  
After the story, take time to make sword fern leaf rubbings.

Books to be read are:
SWORDS AND LACE by Dixie Havlak
RUFOUS by Craig & Joy Johnson
PLANTING THE WILD GARDEN by Kathryn O. Galbraith

Storytime is geared towards children ages 3 to 8. All ages and their families are welcome.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Suspicious Male Near St. Stephens Church

The Laurelhurst Blog received this information:

On Friday, 4/28, a black man, middle aged and stocky was hanging out in front of St. Stephens  Church (NE 45th Street and 48th Avenue NE) around 9:50-10pm.  
He urinated on the side walk, then changed from dark clothes into a bright turquoise work out type suit. He was pulling a case behind him.  We reported this to the Police.
Apparently this person may also be linked to a robbery in View Ridge the week before, where he has also been posing as a solicitor knocking on doors and rolling a suitcase down around the time of the day-time robbery.  

Buy An Upcycled Necklace At Neighborhood Entrepeneur's Trunk Show Friday And Support Local Refugees

Toma the Bhutanese refugee artisan, making a bracelet

Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman is a Laurelhurst mom and local entrepreneur with ventures that include a creative children's apparel line, called Totally Me Artful Wear by MiMi Bug,  designer of her own dishware and specific table manner dishes sold at Metropolitan Market and also a teacher of manners classes. 

In addition, Ming-Ming, who has been a pharmacist for 17 years, wrote a book called, MiMi Bug's Day with Friends, available in  Seattle toy shops, gift stores and local markets. The line’s name comes from her Chinese nickname, “little bug,”

On Friday from 4-6pm Ming-Ming will be having a trunk show for  MiMi Globe Necklaces at Teavana Tea Bar at the University Village.  

She told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff that she has created a line of fabric upcycled necklaces called MiMi Globe for women and children to help generate extra incomes for unemployed refugee women in Seattle, while enabling them to work from home.  She donates a portion from craft sale back to non-profits to support their mission and help refugees.  

Ming-Ming said her necklaces are created to reduce waste by re-purposing fabric no longer in use including sentimental pieces

Recently, Ming-Ming decided to partner with Women Refugee Alliance, who she met with recently and learned that they provide holistic services to help refugee and immigrant women and children to thrive. She will give 10% of the proceeds from the sale at Friday's trunk show to  this non-profit. 

Necklaces can also be purchased here and customers receive 20% off with the code:lovemimiglobe2016. 

"It would be perfect to curl up with Oprah on Mother's Day by wearing MiMi Globe necklace repurposed from Oprah's dress and  having a cup of Tevana Oprah's Chai Tea," Ming-Ming said.
Here is the link to video on Want to Get a Oprah's Hug? MiMi Globe Project.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Driver Leaves After Hitting Car During Day On 42nd Avenue NE

The Laurelhurst Blog received this information:

We have a midnight blue Prius and live close to the corner of 42nd Avenue NE and NE 41st Street. 
My car was hit last Friday between 11:30am and 1:30pm while parked in front of my house on 42nd Avenue NE.  
There is a large melon size dent and scratched paint with no note. If anyone witnessed the hit and run please reach out to me.

Please contact if you have any information.

Union Bay Osprey Have Returned

Here is a recent post from the "Union Bay Watch" Blog published by Larry Hubbell, long-time photographer and birder.

Here also is an in-depth article about Larry and his work.

Dancing With Osprey
They are back! The vacation is over. Our Union Bay Osprey have returned.

I have started thinking of them as Chester and Lacey. Do you notice any distinguishing features? Can you tell which is which?

From a relaxation perspective, it may be unfair to call a self-propelled, round-trip flight to Central or South America a vacation. They travel thousands of miles over a constantly changing landscape, through a wide variation of weather, while incessantly searching for food - almost always fish. 

Unlike eagles, who only pick up fish from the water's surface, osprey will hover a hundred feet above the water and then dive headfirst. At the last moment, their feet flash forward and with their head between their legs, they hit the water. In spite of the impact, they can end up as much as 3 feet below the surface. Their fishing efficiency is unsurpassed.

While their migrations are hard work, their winter sojourns are a vacation from familial responsibilities. When they leave in the fall the young do not travel with the parents. In addition, the adult pair do not spend their winters together. They go their separate ways. In the spring they head north, reunite and begin the the nesting process. Oddly, osprey pair-bonds may keep the birds together for multiple years, but only during the months centered around summer time and reproduction. 

By the way, Chester has the pure white chest, which is common for a male osprey, while Lacey is the one who appears to be trying to hide her speckled necklace of brown spots, which are strung across her white breast.

You may be wondering why I believe these are the same two osprey that visited Union Bay last summer. In addition to their pair bond, they are once again fixated on the same light pole on the southwest corner of the University of Washington soccer field. It seems almost fitting, since soccer may be the most universal sport in the world and osprey may be the most universally distributed raptor on the planet. 

Last year, the osprey were never able to get their branches to balance on the rounded, metallic surfaces of the lights. Without a nest, they were frustrated and unable to reproduce.

This year, after only a few days they are already way ahead of last year. (Maybe they spent the winter practicing on light poles above Brazilian soccer fields.)

Last Sunday as the sun was setting, Chester even carried a piece of sod up to the nest. Sod helps to form a secure cup for holding eggs and nestlings.

The osprey's apparent success cuts two ways. On the positive side, they appear ready and able to become parents. Which means that over the summer we should get to watch their young learn to feed, fly and fish-for-themselves. To my knowledge, osprey reproduction has not happened on Union Bay for at least five years.

On the negative side, the osprey have ignored the nesting platform which was generously constructed last year. (Harassment from red-winged blackbirds may have contributed to the osprey's reluctance.) The University of Washington Athletic department graciously funded the platform and pole, the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA) happily provided the site and Jim Kaiser, from Osprey Solutions, provided the expertise and guidance.

The UBNA seemed like an optimal location for a number of reasons. The osprey would have been closer to the water where they fish. The location would have provided local birders with another exciting opportunity when visiting the natural area. Plus, the University of Washington would not have had to worry about fish entrails, osprey excrement and large sticks endangering their students or fans. 

Unfortunately, the light pole, which the osprey like best, is almost directly above the entrance to the new Husky Baseball Field. During the next few weeks there is a small window of opportunity for the nest to be relocated. With special permission and great care, it may be possible to relocate the nest before Lacey lays eggs.

To increase the odds of success, Jim is suggesting a three-part approach. The first step is to install a nesting platform, away from the blackbirds and closer to the snags along the lower portion of Ravenna Creek, which is often referred to as University Slough. The snags provide the dead branches that the osprey use in their nest building. The second step is to move the branches from their soccer field site, onto the new platform. The final step would be to install a deflector on the light pole above the soccer field that will stop the osprey from nesting on that pole.

There are no guarantees that this approach will be successful. Harmony with nature requires work, investment and persistence. Wild creatures have freewill and are driven by urges and desires we do not fully understand. Finding a mutual solution is almost like a dance. Both parties make moves which ultimately determine their combined trajectory.

Chester and Lacey are fortunate to have chosen the most prestigious university in the state as the site for their nest. According to the Board of Regents, the primary mission of the University of Washington is, "...the preservation, advancement and dissemination of knowledge.."  Finding a solution, which protects the health of the students and also enables our Union Bay osprey to reproduce, will demonstrate patience, persistence and wisdom, while also providing the ultimate teaching moment.

Have a great day on Union Bay...where osprey choose to nest in the city!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Multiple Car Break-Ins On/Near Boulevard (43rd Avenue NE), Resident Gets License Plate Number, Also SPD Tips

The Laurelhurst Blog has received numerous reports of car break-ins and car prowls recently, especially in the vicinity of the Boulevard, 43rd Avenue NE.

Last night, a resident on the Boulevard, caught two males in the act of breaking into a car and reported this information to the Laurelhurst Blog, which includes a license plate number:

I live on NE 44th Street and 43rd Avenue NE.  Last night, after midnight, I was getting back from work and as I was getting out of my car I saw 2 Caucasian males in their late teens/early 20s smoking cigarettes and walking down my street.  They turned and walked down an alley.   
About 15 minutes later, about 12:30am, I saw one of them shining his IPhone up to car windows on my street and he opened the door to one of them and rummaged through the glove compartment.   
I walked out into my front yard and shouted "what are you doing??"  The guy ignored me and continued to walk to the end of my street which is a dead end.  His car was parked there.   
He got in a silver Toyota 4 door sedan--license plate was AXS1889 or AXS1887...WA state plates.   
I called the police as he drove right past me.  About 2 minutes later, the second person emerged from the alley as the silver Toyota came back to pick him up.  
He was wearing a backpack (probably to put all of the stolen items in). The car then sped off.   
I had called the police and they were here within 10-15 minutes.  They noticed another vehicle had also been broken into on 43rd Avenue NE.  
If anyone sees this silver Toyota around the neighborhood please alert the police.  If you see people walking around our neighborhood at weird hours of the night they may not have the best of intentions. Stay on the lookout.

A nearby neighbor to the person who reported the above incident, said that also last night around 1am, he was woken up by the Seattle Police.

He said:

The Police were called by a neighbor who saw 2 guys checking cars on the Boulevard and  NE 42nd Street for unlocked doors with cell phone flash light. He confronted one guy and they sped off.  
The police noticed one of our car doors open and knocked on our door. We stupidly left a car unlocked again. Glove box contents, center console and so forth chucked all over the place, but otherwise no damage.

The Laurelhurst Blog reported this car break-in last week on April 22nd, at 43rd Avenue NE and NE 43rd Street.  

The following day another resident reported a car break-in saying: 

After reading the entry on the car prowl in the Laurelhurst Blog, I double checked my wife's car, parked on NE 44th Street.  
It was also rifled through. The glove box and a storage compartment had been emptied onto the seat, though I didn't find anything missing. Even a small bag of change and GPS unit were not removed.
I also noticed a blue glove left on the floor, presumably used so that prints would not be left. 
Anyways, it's somewhat disconcerting, and clearly the thief tried cars on several streets.

And again on April 22nd, a resident in the same area, reported another car-prowl to the Laurelhurst Blog:
We live on the 3800 block of 44th Avenue NE and my husband's locked car was broken into and change was taken.  I also heard of other car break ins last Wednesday night/Thursday morning.   
I'm curious about the neighborhood Security Patrol that we pay for and how it plans to help curtain what seems to be an increasing incidence of these events.

The SPD website says:
You are more likely to be a victim of a vehicle crime than any other crime reported to the Seattle Police Department. An experienced Car Prowler or Thief can gain access to your car in virtually seconds. 
In less than 30 seconds, someone could break into a parked car. Most car prowls themselves take less than two minutes. The damage done to locks and windows can be very expensive to repair and cause great inconvenience.  a car prowl can take less than a minute and can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Here are SPD's car prowl prevention tips:  
  • Don't leave any items in plain view in your vehicle. Even in a secure garage.
  • Take all valuables with you when you park.
  • Remove or hide anything that a car prowler might mistake as something worth stealing.
  • If valuables must be left behind, hide them out of sight several blocks away before parking.
  • Disable internal trunk releases per your owner's instruction manual.
  • Audible alarms or other theft deterrent devices can be effective.
  • When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, stop and take a look around the area.
  • Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car.
  • Make a habit of locking your garage door and car doors.
  • If possible, store your car in a closed and locked garage.
  • If your car is stored in a carport or parked near your house, leave your exterior lights on throughout the night.
  • If you park on the street, choose a well-lit, open space even if it means adding additional street/yard lighting & trimming back trees/bushes that block your view of your vehicle.
  • If you park your car in a dark or isolated area, consider the City Light Area Lighting Program, which permits additional light fixtures to be placed on existing poles. The cost is less than $5 per month per light. Call (206) 684-3000 for more information.
  • Consider replacing the light fixture closest to your car with a motion detector unit. Motion detectors are a good psychological deterrents since the normal assumption of a person seeing a light come on is that someone has seen them. Additionally, the light makes the prowler or thief more visible.

SPD says that if your car is broken into file a report by calling the non-emergency number at 206-625-5011, or file one online.


Purchase $1 Books at Friends Of Seattle Library's Pop-Up Shop Saturday at NE Branch

Shop the FriendShop Pop-Up!

The Northeast branch of the Seattle Public Library (6801 35th Avenue NE) is having a special event on Saturday from 11:30-3:30pm with the visit of the  Friends of The Seattle Public Library's pop-up shop, called the FriendShop.

The information says:
Pop in to purchase: 
- Pre-owned paperbacks and children's books for $1
- Goodies from the FriendShop, including tote bags, mugs and jewelry
- Gifts for readers
Members will receive two free hard cover fiction books as a member benefit.
Renew or join today!

Your support helps the Friends advocate, educate and raise funds on behalf of The Seattle Public Library.  All proceeds benefit The Seattle Public Library. For more information, visit
Go here for more information or call the FriendShop at 206-733-9015.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why Is There No Left Hand Turn Signal From NE 45th Street Onto Mary Gates Drive From NE 45th Street, Only An Empty Signal Head?

Intersection with no left-hand turn lane onto
Mary Gates Drive NE from NE 45th Street

Several Laurelhurst Blog readers have emailed about why there is a signal board, but no left hand turn signal for turning left onto Mary Gates Drive from busy NE 45th Street, near Sand Point Way.

This very busy intersection is sometimes referred to as "Five Corners" and is where Union Bay Place NE, Mary Gates Boulevard, NE 45th Street, 35th Avenue NE and Sand Point Way all meet.

One resident wrote:

It's very dangerous turning onto Mary Gates Drive without a left hand turn signal and so many, many cars coming, especially during busy times during the day. We have almost been hit several times by cars going very fast on Sand Point Way through the light. We see a fixture for it, but no signal is there. Do you know what is going on?

The Laurelhurst Blog checked with the SDOT Traffic Signals group who said:

We believe you are referring to the westbound to southbound left turn phase on NE 45th Street.  We think of NE 45th Street as running East-West.  If that’s the case, there is no issue we know of here.    
We have never had a left turn signal for that turn. Westbound traffic turning left onto Mary Gates has always had to turn on a green ball and yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians in the crosswalk. The sign and left turn lane do “instruct” people in that lane to turn left, but the sign and turn lane by themselves do not indicate that a signal is present or supposed to be present for the left turn. They just tell drivers in that lane that they must turn left as opposed to going straight.
A couple years ago, SDOT rebuilt this intersection, and we made plans to eventually put the westbound left turn phase in, so it could look like the signal head disappeared.   
However, we found issues with the new phase and an incompatibility with the software used to operate the signal controller while testing the signal controller software, so SDOT went ahead with the rebuild without putting in the new phase.  We hope to eventually put in the left turn phase, so the infrastructure has been set up to eventually accommodate it.    
The intersection was built so that at some future date, a left turn signal head could be added relatively easily; this could be giving the appearance of a “missing” signal head. 
If the issue can be fixed, we will then be able to put in the westbound to southbound left turn phase.   In the meantime, the span wires (the wires supporting the signal heads) have been set up to accommodate the westbound left turn phase if and when we can put it in.
The signals run different timing patterns throughout the day, as traffic patterns change.  During the transition between different timing patterns, some phases were being skipped (not being served).  We are hoping that a future revision to the controller software or a fix by the manufacturer will prevent this from happening.
In August of 2008, three cameras were installed at "Five Points", after the Laurelhurst Community Club voted unanimously to support neighbors requests as well as a submittal of more than 400 petition signatures, for installation of the cameras at the intersection. LCC requested funding for cameras in September of the previous year. 

Updates On New And Old 520 Bridges

Here is the latest on the new and old SR520 Bridge, including removing the old SR520 Bridge by the end of the year

Banner Image

Hello, Goodbye: A new day for the new (and old) SR 520 floating bridges

The new State Route 520 floating bridge fully opened to traffic Monday morning as vehicles began crossing Lake Washington on the span’s eastbound lanes at around 1:30 a.m. The milestone passage, which follows the April 11 opening of the bridge’s westbound lanes, marks the end of an era for the existing, 53-year-old floating bridge.

The old, four-lane bridge carried its last car across the lake late Friday night. With SR 520 closed for the weekend, crews went about preparing for the shift in eastbound traffic onto the new, six-lane bridge. This time-lapse video shows how that weekend work progressed.

Crews now will begin decommissioning the existing, structurally vulnerable bridge and, by the end of this year, removing it from Lake Washington. The old bridge’s pontoons will be towed out of Lake Washington and reused elsewhere as piers, wharfs or breakwaters. Work continues to finish the West Approach Bridge North and Rest of the West to connect the new floating bridge to Interstate 5.