The Grinder coffee stand closes up shop

Longtime Queen Anne coffee post The Grinder, located at 41 Dravus St. off Nickerson (and just around the corner from Tully’s), closed up shop on Wednesday, April 28.

In a letter posted on the door to customers and patrons, owner Kristin Wilhite, who started the Grinder after graduating from SPU 15 years ago, wrote:

“The time has come to close the doors of The Grinder. For 15 years I came to work looking forward to who I would serve that day. I worked hard to not only provide you with good coffee, but with a safe place to laugh, cry, converse and be heard.”

Kristin, who gave birth to her son Max just three months ago, wrote that while she will miss The Grinder, she is thrilled to be starting a new career as a stay-at-home mom.

In her letter Kristin expressed the gratitude she felt for her customers and friends over the years.

“I have: Witnessed relationships turn into marriages. Freshman enter SPU and graduate four years later. Shared in retirements and in promotions. Celebrated our local, now well known author. Lived vicariously through your travels and heard your stories… Watched customers become parents and parents become grandparents. Made more friendships through serving coffee than I ever could have imagined. The stories are endless!”

Kristin invites anyone with a memory to share about The Gridner, to post it on the coffee spot’s Facebook wall.

Local business highlighted in New York Times

Queen Anne resident Stacya Silverman and her cross-country business partner Alissa Schoenfeld developed a product called Beauty Alert!, which was featured in The New York Times Fashion & Style section yesterday, Thursday, April 29. Beauty Alert! packages provide specially designed stickers based on four categories of cosmetic products and their lifespans, notifying users of the date their product will expire after first use.

Once cosmetics are opened, the spoilage process begins, reducing their effectiveness and allowing bacterial growth that can cause irritations or infections.

Though expiration dates on cosmetics products are not required to be posted on the labels by the F.D.A., Silverman says products have both a storage shelf life and a home life span. Bacteria can build up in products during the latter and can become unsafe to use.

For more information, read the NY Times article and check out

Miss the Public Safety Forum? Watch the video!

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Queen Anne/South Lake Union Public Safety Forum last week, Seattle Channel has video of the event and has put it up online–all 66 minutes of it–for your viewing pleasure!

Speakers and panelists at the forum included representatives from the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Council, as well as community and organizational leaders. Topics covered included public safety, Block Watch programs,  graffiti reporting–a particularly hot issue in Queen Anne right now–and more.

For those who prefer to watch Seattle Channel on the good old fashioned TV, they will be airing repeats of the cablecast at 2 p.m. today, Thursday, April 29 and 2 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, April 30 on Channel 21.

Neighbor to host aluminum can drive at McClure Saturday to save Queen Anne pup

Alexis Artis is a lifelong resident of Queen Anne. This Saturday, May 1 Alexis will be hosting an aluminum can drive to raise money for save her dog, Jada, a 2-year-old Afghan Hound who was diagnosed with Chylothorax a few weeks ago. Chylothorax is a very rare disease where excess fluid fills the space around the lungs and can cause impaired breathing by limiting the expansion of the lungs in inhalation.

According to Alexis, Jada had to have emergency surgery to save her life, but the cost of the procedures and treatments has been so extensive, she can no longer afford to cover Jada’s medical bills, much less continued treatment. In the hopes of raising enough money to save her pup, Alexis has turned to the community for support.

A few weeks ago Alexis took the campaign to UW and collected cans from students, faculty and passerby on campus. She’ll be collecting in the McClure parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and asks anyone interested in donating their recyclable cans to a good cause to stop by. All of the proceeds, she says, will go toward Jada’s medical costs and any excess will be donated to charity.

“All the funds that I have raised so far will be going to her medical bills and anything extra will go to the Seattle Humane Society. My goal over the next few months is to gather about 500,000 aluminum cans,” Alexis wrote.

To show your support and/or follow Jada’s recovery, check out the “Save Jada” Facebook group.

Henry transforms house on Nickerson into mural

Local painter Ryan Henry Ward has left the mark of his trade all around Seattle, literally. Using a style that combines chalk, oil and acrylic paints, Ward is most well known for his bright and whimsical murals that can be seen on abandoned walls and on the sides of homes and businesses around town–you’ll know it’s him by “Henry” stamp painted into the picture.

The side of a house along Nickerson just before the Fremont Bridge has long been a site of Ward’s work, but recently the artist was commissioned to “muralize” the rest of the house, a project finished just earlier this week. The largest part of the new mural showcases a giant goldfish over the east side of the house–a picture that seems to be framed for commuters looking for an entertaining pastime while waiting for the bridge to go down!

Check out more photos of Ward’s work here. Many of Ward’s murals are in our sister neighborhoods, like Ballard, Fremont and Phinney Ridge. Henry works have also been commissioned in less obvious places, like inside local schools and on the walls of neighborhood businesses. Keep your eyes peeled! I personally like to play a little game I call spot the “Henry” while driving around town.

GospelFest10 rocks SPU through May 1

Beginning today, the soul uplifting sounds and spirit of gospel music will grace Seattle Pacific University as part of GospelFest10: A Celebration of the Gospel Music Legacy. Three days of an educational symposium, rehearsals and a dinner culminate Saturday night in a mass gospel choir concert – proving that there is so much more to Seattle than alt-indie-pop.

For $10 a person, the symposium at the First Free Methodist Church adjacent to the SPU campus features workshops and sessions in the history, literature, and ministry of the Gospel music tradition, as presented by some of the genre’s pre-eminent practitioners and scholars, including Robert Darden, an associate professor of journalism at Baylor University and author of “People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music,” (which is the subject of one of the symposium’s clinics).

Saturday’s concert will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in SPU’s Royal Brougham Pavilion, 3414 Third Ave West. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. Free parking is available in the Nickerson, Ross, and West Dravus street parking lots. The event is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 206-281-2966 or visit the GospelFest10 website.

The audience will be in for a real treat as they bear witness to some of the region’s finest gospel choirs, including JudahSong, SureHouse, The Sound of the Northwest, SPU’s gospel choir, and gospel choirs from Antioch Bible Church and University Presbyterian Church. If the memory of these stirring voices isn’t enough, a souvenir booklet will also be available for purchase.

The Homeless Neighbor

Seattle’s homeless population stretches far beyond downtown. North Seattle residents and businesses are also struggling to deal with the issue. To see how the community is trying to find a balance, we take you to the streets of Ballard for a raw and compelling look at the problem.

The Homeless Neighbor is the third in a series of stories partnering Next Door Media sites with the nonprofit Common Language Project and students of University of Washington’s Entrepreneurial Journalism class. One of the authors of this story is Christian Caple, the editor of our newest neighborhood site U District Daily. We invite you to take a look.

Lower Queen Anne’s Peso’s Kitchen & Lounge is the biggest bar booze buyer in Washington State

According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, Lower Queen Anne’s own Peso’s Kitchen & Lounge is the biggest restaurant/bar buyer of booze in the entire state!

Former Seattle PI columnist and Queen Anne bar owner Mike Lewis (who became one of the owners of the Streamline on Mercer St. last fall) broke the story on the Seattle Weekly’s Voracious blog today, Wednesday, April 28. From the story:

Peso’s spent more on liquor over the past 12 months than any other bar in the state, more than restaurants twice its size, more than hotels, more any other booze-slinging establishment except two large casinos, according to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

A top ten list of purchasers release by the WSLCB revealed that Peso’s trailed behind only two establishments–the Snoqualmie Casino and Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane. But just because it spent more, doesn’t meant it sold more alcohol–it all comes down to what you buy. Read Mike’s full story at the Seattle Weekly.

(Thanks to Mike for the tip!)

News from the neighbors: budget cuts threaten Discovery Park, no appeal for ‘Missing Link’ ruling

Though these stories don’t hale from Queen Anne, they could affect many in the neighborhood. To keep us all abreast of what’s going in in our neighboring communities, here are a couple stories from two of our sister sites, MyBallard and MagnoliaVoice.

Over in Magnolia, Discovery Park is facing the threat of looming budget cuts at Seattle Parks and Recreation, which if passed, could shut down and lay off the staff at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center (aka the Visitor Center) as soon as July. MagnoliaVoice has the full story.

In Ballard there is an update on the long-developing Burke-Gilman Trail ‘Missing Link’ story. Recently a judge ruled that an environmental review would have to be conducted on a small section of the ‘missing link’ in Ballard before the project could continue, a process that is expected to take about six months. This morning the City of Seattle decided not to appeal this decision. Read the full story at MyBallard.

“Topped” trees along W Comstock St. raise concerns among neighbors and city arborist

Reader Susan P. first noticed a row of what she described as “brutally hacked” London Plane trees while walking past W Comstock St. along Queen Anne Ave N on Monday, April 26.

The four tall trees bordering the south side of the Greenwich Apartments at the top of the south face of Queen Anne hill are the victim of “topping,” a term that refers to the practice of “stubbing” or “dehorning” a tree in an attempt to prevent overgrowth.

According to, an organization dedicated to ending the “senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs,” topping trees is an ineffective and misguided practice that actually worsens the health of the tree or shrub.

Topping has become the urban forest’s major threat, dramatically shortening the lifespan of trees and creating hazardous trees in high-traffic areas.

Concerned about the legality of topping, Susan wonders if it was the work of a private party or business. “It couldn’t have been done legally because the City doesn’t allow topping trees,” she wrote.

“This work definitely wasn’t done by the city,” confirmed Seattle Department of Transportation City Arborist Nolan Rundquist. “When work is performed on street trees by a tree firm or a resident, they are required to obtain a permit from the Urban Forestry section of Seattle Transportation. This type of work is something that we never would have issued a permit for.”

According to Rundquist, the trees meet none of the city’s tree pruning specifications, and looks to be the handiwork of a “tree cutter,” who he said are often “more concerned about making a buck than performing work that was beneficial for the tree and community.”

“The work is very unprofessional (in my opinion, of course) – we’ve been trying to get the “topping is bad” message out for the last 30 years,” Rundquist said, referring readers to Plant Amnesty’s “5 Reasons to Stop Topping Trees” list.

We called the manager of the adjacent Greenwich apartment building, Berit McAlister, to see if she knew who was responsible or had heard anything from other tenants or neighbors. McAlister first said she did not know, and then requested we send a formal letter in writing inquiring for more information.

Regardless of who is responsible, however, Rundquist urges community members to actively discourage tree topping. “We’d certainly like to know the name of the company or person who performed the work, so we can contact them and hopefully keep them from destroying any more trees,” he said.

For more information on urban forestry, street tree regulations, pruning tips, or to file a street tree pruning/removal request or hire a permitted contractor, visit SDOT’s website.

(Thanks to Susan for the tip!)