“It Gets Better” Creator Dan Savage to Get MTV Show

Capitol Hill’s own Dan Savage, creator of the It Gets Better Project aimed at providing hope for gay youth, may reportedly get a television show on MTV.  The show, called “Savage Love”, will document Dan as he visits college campuses and gives sex and relationship advice.  Savage began as columnist for The Stranger before launching the It Gets Better Project that grew into an international phenomenon.  The project began with a video of Savage and husband Terry speaking about the hope of a having a great future as a gay individual, despite the hardships you may face in youth.  This prompted both gay and straight individuals across the nation, including some well knowns like President Barak Obama and Ellen DeGeneres, to make their own videos on the subject.  Now, over 5,000 videos have been made and the number continues to grow.    Based on the widespread success of the campaign, we can only imagine how successful the show will be.  See the project website here.

Proposed Change to Stevens Elementary District

Stevens Elementary District

Proposed Change of Stevens Elementary District

UPDATE – The below proposal has been withdrawn.  Read the email from Kay Smith-Blum on Central District News.

A proposal has been made by Kay Smith-Blum, a Capitol Hill resident and Director of District V (representing Capitol Hill, Madrona, etc.) of the Seattle Public Schools, to take away from Steven Elementary district and add it to Madrona K-8.  The influenced area looks to be between Cherry and Madison and 14th and 23rd.  Those students already attending Stevens would not be affected, but if they have younger siblings that have not started school, those siblings would be affected (and so would the parents who would have to split the time between the two schools).  From reading the School Board Action Report (not very long), it seems the primary reason for the proposal is to save $18,000 in transportation costs – although also cited is capacity and safety issues as reasons for the change.  I am not necessarily arguing that saving $18,000 is not a valid reason for the change, but I could see the Seattle School Board wanting to justify it with a word like “capacity” or one of the most powerful words for change around “safety.”  For instance, the reason I do not believe safety is the main issue is the report says children have to pass over the busy streets of Madison and Union to reach Capitol Hill’s Stevens Elementry.  But if you change the district to Madrona K-8, children still have to cross Union and instead of crossing Madison now they have to cross 23rd which is also very busy.

If you feel strongly either way, you should contact the Seattle School Board: SchoolBoard@seattleschools.org or attend the meeting TONIGHT, January 19th at 6 pm at 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle.

56 Hazardous Poles Found

Seattle City Light has finished the inspection of the city’s light poles and metal plates, according to an article published yesterday in The Seattle Times.  The inspection, which stemmed from a Thanksgiving Day electrocution, was estimated to be completed by March of this year.  Apparently, crews were extremely fast when checking the (now) 37,000 poles and plates and found only 56 hazards, far less than expected.  Poles considered hazardous were those emitting more than 50 volts.  Problems were found in Queen Anne, West Seattle, Central District, and International District.  Seattle City Light had hired two companies to help complete the job, and they will present their findings to the City Council in early February.

A Changing Coffee Giant

Seems like Starbucks is experimenting (and changing) more and more these days.  The latest innovations include the mightiest of iced lattes-the new Trenta-a 31 oz. drink for the caffeine feens.  They introduced VIA in 2009, ready-brew packets of instant coffee with staple flavors like Italian Roast and Columbia. Even more shocking, is the removal of the name “Starbucks” from its iconic logo, what looks like a modern day mermaid with two tails.  The change was made on the 6th of January.  One Seattle Starbucks even began selling beer and wine, aimed at getting greater evening traffic.  The most notable of changes though, is the conversion of local shops in Seattle, to more “hip” coffee shops.  One of these, named 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea in Capitol Hill, had $100,000 worth of renovations to look more independent.  Sadly, Starbucks has decided to revert on this idea and change the café back to an original Starbucks retailer.  A second Seattle café location, Roy Street Coffee & Tea, is another independent, Starbucks inspired shop, opened in 2009.   I’m not sure if Starbucks is just trying to be trendier, or if they are genuinely interested in reaching a more diverse consumer group.  I’m not complaining though.  As long as they’re ready to give me my triple Grande no-foam skinny vanilla latte, I’ll visit any “Starbucks” in Seattle.

Parking Rates Are Rising

Under the city’s new budget plan, parking rates across Seattle are going up.  The most expensive metered parking will now be $4.00/hr in Pioneer Square, in the Commercial Core and on First Hill.  The lowest rates are set at $1.50/hr in Westlake, Uptown, Green Lake and Roosevelt.  Belltown will range from $2.00-$2.50/hr and the Int. District and Capitol Hill will be $3.00/hr.  In addition, some Seattle neighborhoods will have extended hours (disappointing) as the usually “free” parking begins at 6:00 pm.  Over the next couple of months, Belltown, Capitol Hill, International District, Pike/Pine, Pioneer Square, Central Settle, U-District and Uptown will all have extended paid parking until 8:00 p.m., an extra two hours that drivers will have to worry about.  The main goal, says the director of Traffic Management, is to free up parking and figure out where there is the most occupancy.  As monitoring continues, it is possible that rates will continue to be adjusted, and talks of increases for “prime” time parking-that is, increased rates for the time of day when they are most frequented, have been brought up.  These increaes are sure to upset commuters and hopefully, increased parking rates will not adversely affect Seattle businesses.

2011 Capitol Hill Block Party

Last year, I was one of thousands who attended the annual Capitol Hill Block Party, a three-day music event in Capitol Hill Seattle that features bands from the Northwest and independent artists on multiple stages.  This year, the Seattle Special Events Committee has requested that block party organizers meet with Capitol Hill residents and business owners to get feedback before the committee will consider a permit for this year’s block party.  Many business owners supported the “community feeling” of 2010’s block party, but suffered financial losses due to decreased business.  Last year, the area between Pike and Pine Streets and 12th and 10th Avenue was blocked off to the public, and only ticket holders were allowed to enter.  Entrance for the public consumer was impossible.  Restaurants were able to hold their own as most block party goers ate within the festivals parameters.  This year, business owners’ concerns include property damage as well.  Last year, 27,000 people attended, and business owners took the risk of exterior damages due to the sheer amount of people (some of whom were intoxicated) raging in front of their doors.  These concerns are few among many, including the need for a safety improvement this year.  The Seattle Fire and Police Department and the city’s health department are taking a greater role in 2011 to designate more room for emergency access and fire lanes.  The Block Party’s organizers are continuing to work with representatives to make sure this year’s (hopeful) event goes on without a hitch.

Capitol Hill: Seattle Events for Martin Luther King Weekend

There are a ton of Martin Luther King events this MLK holiday weekend in Seattle and even close to Capitol Hill.  Click the link to Seattle Times for details, but following are a sample of events that are going on this weekend.  On Saturday early afternoon, there will be a teen march from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in the Mt Baker area to Garfield.  Also on Saturday, there will be a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award at the base of Queen Anne at the Seattle Center.  On both Saturday and Monday, the King Holiday Hoopfest will highlight many of the top high school basketball teams at both Seattle University Connolly Center near First Hill / Central Area and Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Montlake.  And on Monday morning, a breakfast hosted by charity, the Millionair Club, will feature former Sonic James Donaldson and musician Laura Piece Kelley in Belltown / Downtown Seattle (check address before going – Seattle Times address says 251 Western, but Millionair Club address is 2515 Western).

Capitol Hill Park Renamed

The quarter-acre park sitting at East John Street and Summit Avenue East  in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood recently got a new name-Summit Slope Park.  Initially, the park was to be named Perugia Park, after its Italian sister city (since 1991) of the same name, but in 2009 when the Amanda Knox case finally reached a verdict (guilty of murder in Perugia), the Parks Department reconsidered.  The Seattle Parks Department decided on a new name on Thursday, January 13th of “Summit Slope Park”-because of the street name and sloping land on which the park sits.  A spokeswoman said Perugia may be honored in the future with a plaque or sculpture.

Seattle City Light Update

Crews have found 45 total light pole problems around the city, each of which were emitting a dangerously high 50+ volts.  Crews have repaired poles if it could be done on the spot, and have de-engergized or turned off those that have not yet been repaired.  The ongoing inspection stemming from a Queen Anne dog’s death, will include examining 20,000 streetlights and 10,000 metal plates for electrical energy.  Seattle City Light and two other companies will conduct the process and an estimated completion is March of this year.  So far, the city has tallied upwards of $300,000 in related expenses.  Problems throughout Seattle have been found in West Seattle and Capitol Hill.   If you notice a suspicious pole or plate, please report it.