The Boy Scout Troop 72/QA Helpline tree lot is open

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it seems the holiday season is upon us. And just in time, the Queen Anne Helpline and the Boy Scouts of America Troop 72 have opened up their annual Christmas tree lot in the Upper Queen Anne Safeway parking lot.

Staffed by neighborhood volunteers, Scouts, and their families, the tree lot offers trees (Noble, Tannenbaum, Fraser, Douglas, and Norway Spruce), wreaths, and garlands. And on top of that, 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the Queen Anne Helpline and Scouts Troop 72.

The tree lot will be open now until Sunday, December 21 (or until the trees sell out). Want to get a tree? Swing by during the following hours:

  • Monday through Thursday—12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday—12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday—9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday—9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More information here.

Menchie’s frozen yogurt, one week and counting

Update 12/1 2:30 p.m.: “We are shooting to open up on Saturday,” says Menchie’s representative Elizabeth Garner.

We first told you that frozen yogurt chain Menchie’s would be moving into the corner spot of the Sweetbrier building, at Queen Anne Ave N and W Crockett St, back in September.

Well I have good news for all you frozen yogurt fans out there—according to Menchie’s representative Elizabeth Garner, the new cool sweet spot is less than a week out. The shop will be “opening within the next week (if everything goes as planned),” Garner says.

California-based Menchie’s has locations all over the U.S. and Canada, including two in Washington—in Federal Way and Vancouver. The Queen Anne store will be the first location in the Seattle area.

Menchie’s offers a rotating selection of frozen yogurts and toppings, from classic sprinkles, to local fruits. Read more about the frozen yogurt shop in our past coverage.

We’re waiting to hear back on exactly what day the store is planning to open, and will keep you posted.

Talk schools and childhood obesity with SSIA, Michael DeBell and Nancy Coogan

Queen Anne educational non-profit Successful School in Action (SSIA) is kicking off its 2010-2011 presentation series with a conversation with Seattle school board president Michael DeBell, and central area director Nancy Coogan. The talk will be held on Wednesday, December 1 at 7 p.m. at the McClure Middle School cafeteria.

The event will be broken into two parts. The first, called Let’s Move, will take place from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Representatives from the Mayor’s office, who are working to launch the Seattle initiative of Michelle Obama’s national Let’s Move campaign addressing the issue of childhood obesity, will be in attendance.

In Seattle, health indicators give us a clear picture of alarmingly high obesity rates, with unacceptable disparities based on income and race. This is a problem that the entire community must understand and address. The Mayor’s Office and Public Health- Seattle King County are working on a public education campaign to showcase causes of childhood obesity and provide key action steps parents, kids, community members, educators, and others can take to help reverse this epidemic.

The second portion, from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. will include an introduction to Nancy Coogan and a short presentation from Michael DeBell, and a community discussion and Q&A session that will cover the following topics:

  • What’s next with the new Student Assignment Plan?
  • The new school reports
  • What an area director actually does?

For more information, contact Successful Schools in Action at 206-375-5375.

Holiday Magic comes to Upper Queen Anne Friday

Update 12/2 4 p.m.: As Friday inches closer, new Queen Anne merchants have joined the long list of those participating in the Holiday Magic celebration. Check it out below.

Upper Queen Anne’s annual Holiday Magic festival is coming up this Friday, December 3 from 3 to 9 p.m. on Queen Anne Ave N, from McGraw to Galer.

The celebration, put on by the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, will be chock-full of holiday fun, including discounts at local businesses up and down Queen Anne Ave, snacks, songs courtesy of the John Hay Chorus (from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. starting at HomeStreet Bank), a visit from Santa Claus (at HomeStreet Bank), art projects for kids, a firetruck from Station 8, prize drawings, chair massages, the annual tree lighting at Bethany Presbyterian Church at 6 p.m., and more.

According to the chamber’s marketing director Mary Chapman, the the merchants along Queen Anne Ave pay out of pocket to cover the costs of the festive street tree lighting—all the more reason to invest in LED lights for the trees along the street.

“Yes, we are going green, using less electricity and we have an agreement with Artist Touch Landscaping to do our lights for the next 5 years,” she says. “They store the lights and put them up the following year.  Previously cheap electric bulb strings were bought, cut down and thrown away each year.”

We’re still waiting to hear what particular festivities will be in store at participating merchants. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

Can’t make it to Holiday Magic? Celebrate the holidays in Lower Queen Anne on Friday, December 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Roast Toasty Holiday Event in Counterbalance Park.

Update 9:30 p.m.: Check out the list of participating merchants, and the holiday festivities they’ll be hosting:

  • HomeStreet Bank:  Free photos with Santa from 4 to 7 p.m., plus holiday treats
  • Twirl Cafe:  Cookie decorating and a “Lyle the Crocodile” activity based on the Seattle Children’s Theatre production at Twirl Cafe (with paid admission)
  • Queen Anne Baptist Church: Free crafts and snacks at Queen Anne Baptist church from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Bethany Presbyterian Church: Tree lighting at 6 p.m., followed by crafts and snacks in the main hall
  • Chocolopolis:  Cheese, crackers & chocolate along with samples of drinking chocolate and raffles to visit the Chocolate Surplus Room
  • Queen Anne Dispatch: Elves with treats and discounts
  • Once Upon A Time: Christmas carols and snacks
  • Metropolitan Market: Delicious treats for all
  • Eat Local: Tasty holiday treats
  • My Dressing Room Consignment: 10% off all holiday jewelry, gift with purchase and book signing
  • Robert Samuel Salon: 25% off all Aveda products, wine and hors d’oeuvres
  • Smiles by Smita Orthodontics: Complimentary treats and a kids’ art project
  • Video Isle: A free drawing for video rentals
  • Communique: A free drawing for a nutcracker of your choice
  • Starbucks: Warm drinks and an art activity for children
  • Wink Cupcakes: Children can decorate a free holiday cookie
  • Paragon: Happy hour specials
  • Emerald City Smoothie: Free smoothies
  • Queen Anne Books: Discounts all day, author signing, holiday treats
  • Sully’s: Happy hour specials
  • Emmer & Rye Restaurant: Happy hour specials
  • Betty Restaurant: Happy hour specials
  • Homegrown (new shop at corner of QA Ave. and Boston St.):  Treats and coloring activity for kids all day
  • Queen Anne Books:  Discounts all day, author signing, treats
  • Queen Anne Frame: Refreshments, open house featuring stocking stuffers, fun jewelry, unique ornaments, photo frames & delightful gifts
  • Skookum Clothing: Queen Anne jewelry artist, Joanna Morgan, will offer a trunk show from 4 – 8pm with refreshments
  • Blue Highway Games: Roll a dice and get 1-20% off purchase
  • Key Bank on Upper Queen Anne: Free hot chocolate and candy canes
  • Prorobics: Cookies, candy canes, hot cocoa, and hot apple cider
  • Five Spot Cafe: Free hot cider or hot chocolate and coffee cake
  • Zaw Pizza: For every $50 in gift cards you buy, receive an additional $10 gift card for free. Free samples of their handmade chocolate chip and double chocolate cookies
  • Mimisan & Laurie Swanson Massage: Free 5 min. chair massages at Mimisan from 3 to 7 p.m.
  • Enza’s Restaurant: Complimentary glass of wine with purchase of a dinner entree
  • Portage Restaurant: Spiked hot cider for only $3
  • Tenoch Mexican Grill: Happy hour specials
  • Four Winds: 15% off total purchase, including great gifts and stocking stuffers
  • Marquise Fine Jewelry: Complimentary wine and treats – come see their selection of beautiful jewelry
  • Queen Anne Real Estate: Create a snowflake to put in the window with your $1 donation to the Queen Anne Helpline
  • Vitality Medispa and Wellness Center: Offering $99 hydrafacials and peels

Holiday cruises benefit Forgotten Children’s Fund

Seattle historic steamship, the Virginia V, will be hosting three holiday cruises in December, of which a portion of each will support Seattle-based non-profit organization Forgotten Children’s Fund.

Aboard the 125-foot Virginia V, passengers may enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays from the water, including the annual Christmas Ships Festival, and help to spread the holiday spirit to those less fortunate.

Started by a letter in 1976 written to Santa Claus from a child who missed out on Christmas, the Forgotten Children’s Fund is an organization that steps in to help those families who have fallen on hard times and receive little or no aid from other organizations. Families are referred by schools, churches, police agencies, and others. More than 1000 volunteers receive letters from families and then deliver upwards of 20,000 toys, books, clothing, blankets and other necessities at the holidays.

“We’re thrilled to receive support from the Virginia V,” volunteer Gordon Fouts, who has been with the organization for 35 years, said in a statement. “The Forgotten Children’s Fund is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the season in a unique way while helping families who aren’t receiving other types of aid. Through generous donations from community groups like Virginia V, we’re already buying new toys, bicycles, winter coats and food that our Santa Claus and Elf volunteers will distribute at Christmas.”

These three holiday cruises will take place on December 2, 18 and 23, and will depart from South Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Avenue North, aboard the Virginia V.  Details and ticket information can be found here.

Update on Aurora Bridge “suicide fence”

If you’ve driven over the Aurora Bridge lately, you’ve noticed the posts for the long-planned suicide fence rising from the west side of bridge.

WSDOT Aurora Bridge Fence Mock-Up. Photo courtesy of WSDOT.

The Washington State Department of Transportation sent out some information recently on the status of the project:

Yes, those are fence posts sprouting up on the west side of the bridge. Crews begin installing the posts on the night Monday, Nov. 8, and are getting 20 to 30 done each night. So far they’ve installed about a third of the 684 posts that will make up the fence. If you’ve been looking closely as the fence posts go up, you might have a few questions. And we have the answers:

Q. Why is the first fence post at N. 34th Street in Fremont? Is that where the fence begins?

A. No, the fence will begin just north of N. 36th Street right above the Fremont Troll.

Q. But the posts don’t begin until N. 36th Street. Are you sure the fence goes all the way to the Troll?

A. Yes, the posts all look the same, but they differ in how they connect to the bridge. Six different ways, in fact, and there are five different types of posts. These post-to-bridge connections depend in part on whether the post is attached to the steel middle section or the concrete sections at the north and south ends. It turns out that the fence manufacturer completed the posts that connect to the steel sections first and so the contractor is installing them first. The posts in the concrete sections on the west side of the bridge will go up in the next week or two.

Q. Why are there gaps between some of the posts?

A. The gaps indicate locations where we must complete repairs before installing posts. As you may remember, crews discovered corrosion in 23 beams about three months ago. We determined the beams would need to be strengthened before we attached the fence posts at those locations and added this work to the construction contract. We completed part of the repair and are waiting for a manufacturer to build and deliver the steel braces that will reinforce the beams.

Q. When will the fence be done?

A. We had hoped to have the fence done by the end of the year, but the added repair work has taken longer than we anticipated. It also appears that panel installation may take more time as well. These two factors will delay completion by about a month, into early 2011.

Have you seen Stormy?

You know the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’? While for Kathleen Cifu and her neighbors, the same is true of their cat Stormy.

Up until Thanksgiving Day, Stormy has lived in an apartment building between 13th and 14th Avenues W, near W Barrett, as the communal pet of the building. According to Kathleen, a family that moved out of a house across the street three years ago left Stormy behind, and since then “he hasn’t been interested in being anyone’s personal pet.”

“He will saunter into our apartments, but refuses to be stuck indoors, so a small group of us came up with a plan. He lives in a rather elaborate set-up under an eave off the back of my apartment building, which includes a box with a blanket that gets changed once a week, heat lamp, and a waterproof cover in the winter months and a shade screen for the summer. Even though he wishes to remain outdoors, he still loves affection and greets me in the same spot just about every day when I come home,” Kathleen wrote.

On Thursday morning one of Kathleen’s neighbors informed her that Stormy has been taken during the night, most likely by someone who didn’t realize that he was being cared for.

“We are very worried about his safety as he is not an inside cat and refuses to be.  We all take care of him and make sure he is safe and warm,” Kathleen wrote. “We provide, food, water, shelter, and heat.  We let him into the walk way leading to our doors for a time to warm him up as well.  Again, he refuses to be an indoor cat and prefers to live outside.”

“At some point last night someone must have thought he was not taken care of and he was alone because my neighbor woke this morning to find his box, his food/water bowls, his blankets, and the cat himself were all gone.  I assure you the cat has been very well cared for and he means the world to all of us.  We would like to put out the word for his safe and speedy return.  I can provide proof that he lived here as he was featured in the faculty/staff newsletter at SPU.”

Kathleen and her neighbors hope that whoever took Stormy will contact them immediately. Kathleen can be reached at

“We are very worried about Stormy and hold no grudges against who took him as we believe they were just acting out of compassion,” she wrote. “We simply would like them to know he was cared for and we hope he returns.”

Seattle Marathon starts & stops in Queen Anne

The Seattle Marathon is coming to town Sunday, starting at 5th Ave and Harrison Street and ending at the Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center. For this reason, many street closure and traffic will increase between 6:30am and 3:00pm.

There will also be periodic usage of the PA system on 5th Avenue near Mercer between 6:30am and 10:30am. Chances are you won’t hear that, but, just in case…

You can check out the full race course here or the affected street map here.

If you’re going to be heading downtown today, allot some extra transportation time as routes and roads will be affected.

And if you’re running the marathon, keep us posted on your times. Let’s find out who’s the fastest Queen Anne runner!

Pet tragically electrocuted on Thanksgiving Day

Queen Anne resident Nancy Bostdorff and her daughter, Lisa McKibbin, have just lost a beloved friend—their dog Sammy. While walking Sammy along Queen Anne Ave N on Thanksgiving Day, he was tragically electrocuted. The unpredictable accident upset his family, and inspired them to help inform residents in the hopes of preventing other animals from being killed in the same way.

“He was walking along QA Ave, near Bricco, my daughter stepped aside to let another dog pass, and moved onto the electric plate near a lamp post.  He started screaming and went into convulsions, and died.  We took him to the emergency hospital, where they gave him CPR for 30 minutes, to no avail.  Seattle PD cordoned off the street, and Seattle City Light cut power to the block to investigate.  I just don’t want anything to happen to another dog,” Nancy Bostdorff wrote. “It is so painful.”

“The metal lamp posts may be leaking electricity, or there could be faulty wiring in the power plate that is not visible to walkers. I witnessed my dog being electrocuted, needless to say, it was excruciatingly painful for him and for me to watch. He died instantly. When I stuck my hand in his mouth I felt a shock from the electric waves emanating from his mouth. My poor baby!” Lisa wrote.

According to Lisa, electrical leakages on city streets are more common of an occurrence than most people realize.

“My mom and I would just like to spread the word out there, bring awareness to people to be extremely cautious of the possibility that the metal lamp posts on the Ave (or anywhere for that matter) could be leaking electricity, as well as steel plates on the sidewalk possibly having faulty wiring underneath the surface. We just don’t want to see any more victims, adult, child, or dog of this terrible hazard. This is a horrible horrible tragedy and should not happen to anyone else and their dogs,” she said.

Nancy and Lisa shared their story with Dr. Spencer at the Queen Anne Animal Clinic, who they say is planning to hold a meeting with fellow vets to discuss this deadly hazard. The family also filed a police incident report, which Lisa says they will be following up on this week.

“The police and Seattle City Light had shut down the power on the block and were checking the area,” she wrote. “We hope to find out if there was faulty wiring, leaking electricity, etc., next week.”

In the meantime, Nancy and Lisa offer a couple of resources on electrical leakages, termed “stray voltage”, which are unfortunately often only discovered after a pet has been lost. Read more about how to prevent your dog from becoming a victim of electrical shock on the street, and how to protect pedestrian, children and pets from such accidents.

Lisa is also starting a blog on Sammy’s behalf. “I want to cover the prevention of electrocution and dogs. I am learning not many people are aware of this, back east it has happened quite a bit, perhaps because they get much worse weather than we do, but lately we’ve been hit hard by Mother Nature,” she wrote. “Maybe together we can spread the word and save lives.” You can visit Lisa’s blog here.

Update: Seattle City Light has responded to the story here.

It’s a Thanksgiving snow plow miracle!

Update: 9:15 a.m.: Snow plows are still traveling Queen Anne hill, de-icing roads for the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving Queen Anne! I have some exciting turkey day news to report: Late last night, while sleepily putting the finishing touches on my pumpkin pie, I heard a strange noise coming from the street. At first I thought another car had attempted to drive up Queen Anne Avenue, despite the ice, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a large SDOT snow plow backing up the Counterbalance.

And by 8 a.m. this morning, the Counterbalance was relatively clear of the icy mess that has made it so dangerous to drive on these last few days (though there are still a few stranded cars that haven’t yet been retrieved).

For those of us who thought we might just be stuck on the hill for Thanksgiving, it’s a tiny miracle, courtesy of the folks over at SDOT!

In other Thanksgiving Day news, there has already been a little snow more snow in Queen Anne today. But the 30 degree temperature is expected to get as high as 40, and bring with it some rain.

If you’re busing to your Thanksgiving meals today, Metro is running on a Sunday schedule on snow routes today, and reduced weekday service tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for snow plows. Let us know what you’re thankful for in the comments below.