Canlis brothers climb on top of the Space Needle to advertise chef Jason Franey

Canlis’s Chef Jason Franey won a nomination for The People’s Best New Chef earlier this month, prompting owners Brian and Mark Canlis to run a Facebook campaign in his honor.

With black and white photos of the two in Seattle’s notable spots, the restaurateurs hope to get enough votes to win Franey the Northwest and the country in Food & Wine Magazine’s new competition.

“We just thought, ‘how can we be creative here and get people to vote,’” said Mark Canlis. “It’s been a riot; it’s just been a lot of fun.”

There are a total of 14 photographs that will be released each day until voting ends March 1. One of the early shoots had the brothers on the top of the Space Needle in a harness braving cold temperatures and high winds.

“We were so high off adrenaline coming off the space needle in 50 mph winds,” said Canlis. “There were some nerves involved.”

The competition is year one of a joint effort from CNN food blog Eatocracy and Food & Wine Magazine, which nominates 10 chefs from 10 regions of the country and lets people vote for their favorite. The most votes in a region make a chef a finalist, of which there will be 10 in all, but the most votes in the country wins the title.

“We want people to vote for us because they believe in us, because we’re doing something creative,” said Canlis. “Because they respect who we are as a company and love that we’re trying to raise the bar of fine dining in the city, love that we’re trying to make this a food town, a food destination.”

The campaign, while garnering some media attention, is running solely on their Facebook page.

“It’s not so much an ad campaign as doing something fun with the city and social media,” Canlis said.

Adding a playful dimension to the Facebook campaign, Morse Code was inserted into the photographs that led to a secret website. The first 10 to the website (which took about six days) were given reservations and a free dinner at Canlis’s pop-up restaurant Hearth & Home held inside Macrina Bakery Queen Anne last weekend.

Their use of retro photographs with 21st century media herald the next generation of Canlis’s operation. Brian and Mark Canlis have been running the restaurant for five years now, and Chef Franey, the restaurant’s fifth chef in 60 years, has been at Canlis for a little over two years.

“I’m 36 and I’m the oldest person on my management team, it’s a young crew,” Canlis said. “We just thought to ourselves, ‘hey, we’re up for this award, how do we let people know it’s not your grandfather’s Canlis anymore.’”

Alongside Franey, another Queen Anne chef, Shaun McCrain of Book Bindery, is also up for the award.

Weekend crime report: burglaries and car prowls

Is crime on the rise in Queen Anne? According to SPD’s crime statistics, no, but some Queen Anne residents have been noticing a trend – in crimes and in repeat targets. Stacey writes:

I live on 1st Ave W and Denny Ave (Lower Queen Anne) and was wondering if you guys are hearing of an increase in robberies. Our building alone has been hit 3 times this week, from mail boxes being pried open, to cars being vandalized and storage bins robbed, and then last night all the open unit lock boxers were stolen, which contain entry keys. They think all in all it’s been around 2-3 people over the past week, seemingly with full building access. I’m curious to know if other buildings are having the same problems…

Another reader, Brandon, wrote in with a different kind of crime to report, one not uncommon to residents on the hill. He writes:

My neighbor had his car broken into Thursday/Friday between 11pm and  10am. There weren’t any signs of forced entry, though, which was  surprising to both of us. In addition to his stereo face plate being  stolen, every shred of paper including his garbage bag and his car’s
manual was taken. Sounds like the beginnings of an identity theft. This happened near W Emerson St. & 12th.

Have you noticed an uptick in crime in Queen Anne lately?

Suspect in murder of Safeway employee arrested

On Saturday, February 26 Seattle Police Department homicide detectives arrested a suspect in the murder of Upper Queen Anne Safeway employee Michelle Thornton, according to the SPD Blotter.

Thornton, 43, was found dead in a closet in her Belltown apartment on January 6, after being reported missing by her father. Concern over Thornton’s whereabouts arose after several friends were unable to reach her on New Years Eve, when she had planned to host a party.

According to a report by The Seattle Times, the suspect is a 40-year-old man. He was arrested in Seattle on Saturday morning with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and has been booked for investigation of murder.

Sign in begins at Queen Anne Community Center

Starting today Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking patrons of all city community centers, including Queen Anne, to sign in before using the facilities or attending a meeting or activity on site. On the sign in form people will be asked to indicate their age group and time of arrival. From Parks and Rec:

The pilot project, which will last two weeks, will help Parks staff respond to a City Council directive to reconsider how community centers are operated. After two weeks Parks will evaluate the information and decide whether to extend it for 10 more weeks. The process, which includes public meetings to discuss with the community ideas for how centers can be run differently, began with a public meeting on February 2.

The directive comes in the context of the budget: the cost to run the 26 centers far exceeds revenue brought in from center programs. Because of the current difficult budget situation, Parks is exploring alternatives that would offer continued services for the public, while reducing costs, including new methods of management, staffing, fundraising, and partnerships. Learning the average age groups, frequency of visits, and numbers of people visiting community centers each day will help this work.

Memorials sprout up along Aurora Bridge’s new suicide-prevention fence

The newly completed Aurora Bridge suicide-prevention fence attracted memorials over the last week. Two memorials can be spotted on the western side of the Queen Anne half of the bridge.

One memorial contains a large note to two victims, big enough to be seen from passing cars on the road:

The $4.6 million suicide-prevention fence was completed Feb. 15. It is the latest and most ambitious attempt to respond to the problem of suicide jumpers from the bridge with the country’s second highest suicide rate.

Another mixed-use building planned for QA

Another mixed-use residential/retail building is in the planning stages for Lower Queen Anne, at 101 John Street. The proposed six-story development would include 25 residential unites and ground level retail/commercial space.

The development is adjacent to the Fiona Apartments, located on the same site. The site, at the corner of John Street and 1st Ave N, is currently the home of Rice ‘n Spice Thai and another building, both of which would be torn down to make way for the project.

The Department of Planning and Development has scheduled an early design guidance meeting on the plan for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 1st Ave W, Room 3). From DPD:

The applicants have applied for Design Review related to development of this site.  At the early design guidance meeting, the applicants will present information about the site and vicinity.  The public may offer comments regarding the design and siting of a development on the subject site; and the Design Review Board members will also offer comments and identify those Citywide Design Guidelines of highest priority in developing the site.

For more information regarding this project application and the design review process, contact land use planner Lisa Rutzick at (206) 386-9049.

Overview of QACC February Transportation Meeting

The Queen Anne Community Council’s Transportation Committee meetingon Wednesday evening devoted itself to discussing West Mercer Place concerns over the Mercer West Project. Transportation Chair Glenn Avery and Uptown Alliance Co-President John Coney answered questions on the project posed by West Mercer Place area representative Greg Thompson.

Coney spoke about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s presentation on the plans for Mercer West tentatively scheduled for the middle of March and encouraged West Mercer Place residents to attend Mayor McGinn’s town hall meeting in Magnolia on March 1. The public has an opportunity to sign up to speak for two minutes at this event.

The 40-minute meeting was held in Queen Anne Community Center at 7:30 p.m. A cold, slightly snowy night may have contributed to the small turnout – only five people were in attendance.

Folklife to have Bulgarian theme for 2011 festival

The 40th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, taking place at Seattle Center over Memorial Day weekend from May 27 to 30, will have a special Bulgarian theme this year.

The organization chose Bulgaria for its cultural focus due to the large and growing Bulgarian community here in the Pacific Northwest. From Folklife:

The Bulgarian community is a growing part of the Balkan community in the Pacific Northwest, numbering around five thousand in the Seattle area alone.

In addition to the festival’s regular events (check out the full schedule here), the special programming this year will include a Bulgarian Community Celebration with a number of exhibits, talks and activities surrounding the region, peoples and culture. From Folklife:

The Bulgarian Community Celebration will include an exhibit of photographs taken in Bulgaria in the 1960s and 1970s; an afternoon concert by renowned traditional Bulgarian performers; a participatory dance featuring local Balkan and Bulgarian dance bands; as well as workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and children’s activities.

The photographs, Voices & Images from Bulgaria, 1966-1979, were taken by Martin Koenig, who first went to Bulgaria over forty years ago with a letter of introduction from Margaret Mead. He was initiated into the world of Bulgarian dance, began traveling to festivals and villages, and quickly realized that he was documenting a traditional agrarian culture that was undergoing radical industrial change. His images, and the text describing them, reveal a life that no longer exists. An exhibit catalog will be available for sale, and Koenig will give scheduled gallery talks during the Festival as well as participate in discussions of his fieldwork on the Narrative Stage.

Find more information on the events, exhibits and activities planned during the Bulgarian Community Celebration here.

For more details about the 2011 festival, check out Folklife’s new website. If you’re a teen or young adult artists interested in submitting your work to be featured in a collaborative show at the Ver(A)rt Gallery during the Folklife Festival this year, you can find details on how to apply (deadline is March 20) here.

Queen Anne wakes up to light dusting of snow

The overnight snowfall may not have been the 2-6 inches forecasters warned us about, but there is a very light dusting of snow on the ground in Queen Anne this morning. The forecast calls for anywhere from a trace to 2 inches more later today.

Live traffic cameras. Refresh to update. See all North Seattle cameras.

With the temperature currently at 26 degrees, commuters are advised to keep an eye out for ice. Metro buses are on snow routes this morning, and Microsoft has canceled all its Connector routes. Here’s SDOT’s first report this AM:

Most city streets are bare and wet this morning. Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are treating major arterial streets to guard against the formation of ice in advance of the morning commute period. Snowfall last night was highly variable around the city. Beacon Hill, southern Rainier Valley, and higher parts of West Seattle appear to have had the most snow.

WSDOT crews have been busy treating the freeways. For the most part, traffic is moving smoothly. You can check the latest WSDOT traffic updates, the flow map and the full set of WSDOT cameras.

Drive carefully!

Whole Foods Market food drive benefits Western Washington charity Food Lifeline

Whole Foods Market stores in the Seattle-area raised 10.5 tons of food through its Bag Hunger Holiday food drive held last December. The donation, collected from the Interbay, Westlake, Roosevelt Square, Bellevue and Redmond stores, was delivered last week to regional charity organization Food Lifeline.

“Whole Foods Market makes regular donations of fresh food through Food Lifeline’s Grocery Rescue program and has taken our partnership to the next level by making us the beneficiaries of the Bag Hunger Holiday food drive,” Food Lifeline Corporate Relations Manager Ashley Gammell said in a statement. “This donation from Whole Foods Market and their generous customers will allow us to provide more than 15,500 nutritious meals to hungry individuals and families in Western Washington.”

From the Food Lifeline website:

Food Lifeline is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. Food Lifeline makes every penny count, and 94% of the food we receive from local, state and national contributors is donated.