Host families needed for displaced exchange students

International Student Exchange is looking for host homes for several exchange students after Hurricane Irene hit the east coast.

A host family is needed for a High School Foreign Exchange student for the 2011/2012 school year. We are helping those areas in which the hurricane affected, and there are many students in need of a loving host family who will now be coming to Seattle. A potential host family is needed for a boy from Germany who speaks German, French and English, enjoys basketball, soccer, swimming, martial arts, and baseball, and plays the drums, or a girl from Brazil who is very outgoing, cheerful and calm girl, she loves cooking, reading, playing volleyball, soccer and riding horses, or a boy from Vietnam who likes playing volleyball, dancing hip hop, and going to the theater, he is an A student is excited about learning about the American lifestyle, or a girl from Thailand, who loves camping, bowling, shopping, travel and baking. She loves spending time with her cat and enjoys animals, or a boy from China, who loves reading and collecting things, he enjoys school activities and going to the movies, swimming and playing ping pong, or a boy from Brazil who likes bowling, playing soccer, camping and loves younger children, he volunteers to help take care of children, or a boy from South Korea who likes soccer, swimming, bowling, he is a black belt in Taekwondo, also enjoys music and plays the clarinet, or a girl from Spain who is a likes to spend time with her family, playing tennis and basketball, reading and playing the piano, or a boy from Thailand who likes fishing with his dad, playing golf, basketball and soccer. He loves animals and hopes to be a veterinarian when he gets older or a girl from China interested in swimming, music and watching sports. She can’t wait to meet her new American family.

Students come with good English skills, full health insurance and their own personal spending money, and mainly the desire to be a member of an American family. We ask our families to provide a bed (shared room is okay with similar age range) and meals eaten with the family. Host families do not need to have teenagers of their own; young families as well as empty nesters are excellent high school student hosts this year.

For more information about the students and the program, contact Jamin Henderson by email or phone at 360-661-0552.

Thousands of clean cars hit the road

Once again this year, Brown Bear Car Wash cleaned thousands of cars during their annual Free Car Wash Day.

The line at Brown Bear in Ballard during last week’s Free Car Wash Day.

Last week during the sixth annual Free Car Wash Day, they washed a total of 26,523 cars at their 20 tunnel locations. “Brown Bear founder and owner Vic Odermat said each location averaged 111 washes per hour over a 12-hour period with no mechanical failures,” the press release states. That brings the six-year total to 132,163.

“The pace was fast and furious and it’s a tribute to our team that we were able to serve so many customers,” said Odermat. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the communities we serve, and hopefully we introduced new customers to the kind of service and value we deliver year round.”

More improvements & changes coming to Aurora

We’ve seen a lot of new and improved features on Aurora Avenue recently, including radar speed signs and earthquake retrofits. According to a recent blog post by SDOT, there’s still a lot more to come.

The post outlines a whole bunch of impending improvements and changes in the area, while some of them will take place right in our own backyard.

Further south, SDOT is preparing to implement a series of safety improvements centered around the Aurora Bridge.  New signage will be installed warning drivers to expect merging traffic prior the Fremont Way and Halladay Street entrances.  This project will include improved directional signage to the Queen Anne neighborhood and minor tree trimming to improve the visibility of these signs.  Channelization improvements will be implemented concurrently on southbound Aurora at the Fremont Way and Raye Street entrances to Aurora.  At Fremont Way, a solid white lane line will replace the existing dashed lane line and extend 200 feet south of the point where the two roadways become one.  Since it is illegal to cross a solid white lane line, this new configuration will allow drivers entering Aurora to get up to speed before making lane changes.  At Raye Street, a new edge line will be installed to provide drivers with better sight lines when entering Aurora.  Coupled with the recently completed improvements at Halladay Street (for drivers entering and exiting northbound 99), the roadway around the Aurora Bridge will certainly funtion better.

I know the current set-up can cause some uneasiness when it comes to merging traffic heading onto the bridge so it sounds like these changes could help.

Read more about SDOT’s Action Plan here.

Apply for Small & Simple Projects Fund starting 9/1

The Neighborhood Matching Fund’s 2011 Small and Simple Projects Fund will begin accepting applications on Thursday, September 1 for the fall funding cycle. The fund provides awards of up to $20,000 to community based groups and organizations to support neighborhood projects that build community.

From the new release:

In recognition of Emergency Preparedness Month this September, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Seattle Office of Emergency Management (OEM) encourage community members to apply for funding to help them organize and engage their neighbors and plan for emergency and disaster situations.

The deadline for the Small and Simple Projects Fund for awards up to $20,000 is Monday, October 17 by 5 p.m. Community members can also apply to the Small Sparks Fund for awards up to $1000 with applications accepted year-round. To learn more, visit

Two workshops have been scheduled for community members to learn more about the NMF program and emergency preparedness project ideas. The workshops will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13 at the Ballard Public Library (5614 22nd Ave NW); and on Thursday, September 15 at The 2100 Building (2100 24th Ave S). All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a workshop.

Community members are also encouraged to contact a Neighborhood Matching Fund Project Manager before applying at 206-233-0093 or For those applying for emergency preparedness projects, contact the Seattle Office for Emergency Management at or call 206-233-5076.

Two weeks of night closures on Mercer start today

The Seattle Department of Transportation will begin intermittent nighttime lane closures on Mercer Street today, Monday, August 29, as part of ongoing work on the Mercer Corridor Project.

Night work is scheduled to take place intermittently between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. over the next two weeks. SDOT says that up to three lanes of Mercer Street will be closed overnight at Westlake Ave N, Terry Ave N and Boren Ave N during the work to accommodate storm drain, water main and gas line crossings along Mercer.

More information on the Mercer Corridor Project here.

Week-long library furlough begins today

Due to budget cuts, the Seattle Public Library system has closed down for a week-long furlough beginning today, Monday, August 29 until Sunday, September 4. All branches will also be closed the following day, Monday, September 5, for Labor Day, reopening on Tuesday, September 6.

From the Seattle Public Library:

The week-long closure will help the Library achieve its $3.7 million budget reduction target for 2011. The closure will save approximately $650,000. The closure will mean salary reductions for nearly 640 employees who will not be paid during that week and who are taking cuts in their cost of living adjustments. In addition, the book budget has been reduced, positions have been eliminated and 2010 cuts to branch hours have continued this year. Fifteen branches are only open 35 hours a week.

No materials will be due and no fines will be charged during the one-week closure, and most library services will be unavailable, including book drops, Wi-Fi,  regular programs and events in library meeting rooms, TeleCirc (the library’s telephone circulation service that provides patrons with information on their library account), and text, email or or phone communication with a librarian.

Access to the online catalog will be limited to searching and checking library records, but patrons won’t be able to place holds.

Some online services will remain available, including the calendar of events; the SPL Mobile page; online payment of fines and fees; library podcasts; access to premium online databases, including Britannica Online,, Mango Languages, Consumer Reports and Morningstar Investment Research Center; access to downloadable media, such as e-books and audiobooks, songs and movies; and digital collections, such as photos from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Collection, the Northwest Art Collection and The Seattle Historical Photograph Collection; the Seattle City Directory Collection; and the Century 21 Exposition Digital Collection.

Conan O’Brien spotted wandering Queen Anne

Conan O’Brien has been spotted roaming around Seattle this week, posing for a picture outside the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Lower Queen Anne Thursday.

*Photo courtesy of @ConanOBrien

While visiting the foundation Conan snapped this pic and tweeted:

Just tried to donate to the @GatesFoundation. Curiously, they refused to accept my ’92 Ford Taurus:

Coco is often seen visiting Seattle, his wife’s hometown. He’s been spotted a number of other places around town this week–have you seen him?

Want to become a volunteer Seal Sitter?

When a seal or sea lion makes its way to one of our beaches, Seal Sitters is one of the first to be called. With pupping season in full swing, rookeries and pups have already started visiting Seattle beaches.

“Sparky,” a seal pup in 2010 that was rehabilitated. Photo courtesy Marilyn, a volunteer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Seal Sitters relies on volunteers to keep watch on the pups throughout the season. If you’d like to become a Seal Sitter, the organization is hosting a new volunteer training session this Saturday, August 27 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Discovery Park Visitor Center. Seal Sitters’ Robin Lindsey says that September and October are the busiest time for the organization, so new volunteers are always needed.

For more details read the full story at our sister site

Interbay tapping sewer lines for heat and energy

Interbay will be testing out a new technology that captures heat from sewer pipelines and redistributes the energy to nearby buildings, under a pilot project proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine Thursday. From the media release:

Under the Executive’s proposal sent today to the Metropolitan King County Council, the County’s Wastewater Treatment Division would partner with a private Seattle-based company, FreeHold Group LLC., to build a district energy system that would extract heat energy generated inside the Elliott Bay interceptor and use it for heating and cooling in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood. The interceptor is a major pipeline that carries wastewater from downtown Seattle to the West Point Treatment Plant.

District energy systems produce energy from a central plant that can be piped underground to nearby buildings, replacing the need for boilers, furnaces, or air conditioners.

“I was pleased to advocate for this innovative clean energy idea after learning about it last year during a walking tour of Interbay with FreeHold Group LLC,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, who represents Interbay on the King County Council. “This project will be a win-win, bringing clean energy to Interbay businesses and a return on investment for county ratepayers.”

At the Queen Anne & Interbay farmers markets

The late summer heat has arrived just in time for Queen Anne Farmers Market and Interbay Farmers Market today. Get out there in that 80 degree sunshine and enjoy the fresh eats that both markets have to offer, because they’ll be plenty of cooler market days in store before the season concludes, but our sunny days are most certainly numbered.

At the Queen Anne Farmers Market today:

  • 4 p.m. – Cooking Demo with Artemio Diaz, the head chef La Luna, who will be cooking up some of the restaurant’s Mexican favorites
  • 5 to 7 p.m. – Live Music by Hank Bradley and Cathie Whitesides, two of Seattle’s finest folk musicians, specializing in Greek music, old-time fiddle, contra dance music, Irish fiddle and more
  • Check out what’s fresh at the market this week here
* FreshBoard art by Maggie Cuevas

At the Interbay Farmers Market today:

  • 4 to 5 p.m. – Cooking Demonstration with Chef Ethan Stowell
  • Check out what’s fresh at the Interbay market this week here

As always the Queen Anne Farmers Market will take place from 3 to 7:30 p.m. at W Crockett Street and Queen Anne Ave N. The Interbay Farmers Market will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Interbay Urban Center, located at 1819 15th Ave. W.