Free Solar Educational Workshop

Interested in finding out the benefits of powering your home with solar? A free, educational workshop is taking place at Garfield Community Center in the nearby Central District on Thursday, February 8th. It will cover different aspects of implementing and using this affordable form of energy.

Evan Leonard, Vice President of Artisan Electric with 8 years experience in the solar industry, also worked previously as an environmental educator in Japan and has spearheaded environmental causes for the past 10 years. He will be leading the workshop for homeowners from 6-7:30 pm, and will cover many commonsense topics as well as handle any questions from attendees. Topics likely to be covered:

  • how solar energy and panels work
  • how solar actually thrives in gloomy Western Washington
  • financial aspects including federal and state incentives + ROI + a breakdown of cost + different ways to finance
  • how solar works with various types of roofing
  • battery back-up systems and powering your home in an outage or disaster
  • go into depth concerning realistic costs and help the attendees get a realistic view of potential they may have for solar

Artisan Electric is a local solar contractor based in Georgetown. Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union, who often partners with them, has a 0% down financing plan that some homeowners may be eligible for. They are providing free pizza and refreshments at the event.

For more information, check out the workshop Facebook page:

Event held at:
Garfield Community Center
2323 East Cherry Street
Seattle, WA  98122

Coffee, Community, & a Cut

Squirrel Chops’ logo

Located near the corner of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street, Squirrel Chops inhabits one of the street-level business spaces in a newer mixed-use building. Follow the overhead woodcut sign with the squirrel drinking coffee inside for a fresh drink or a fresh haircut. The interior is painted in black and interspersed with natural wood slab and steel surfaces, with unshielded warm bulbs throughout. The music inside varies according to who’s working: country, cool Latin grooves, strong female singers, more.

Entry to Squirrel Chops and the building location at 23rd and E. Union Street

Sharon Blyth-Moss and Shirley Henderson, joined in life and in business, run the shop together. They started this to combine their love of coffee and hair with a sense of community. Sharon, who was acknowledged as “Best British Hairstylist” by Seattle Metropolitan magazine in 2009, currently handles all hair styling, although this may change in the future with a salon reorganization to allow for more hair stylists (potentially with barista skills). The hours Squirrel Chops is open may be extending in the future as well, most likely when the new building construction across the street is completed.

Sharon Blyth-Moss at work.

Their cuts & cafe clientele are extremely varied, according to Sharon, including long-term salon clients, “a lot of strong females”, construction workers, LGBTQ peers, and the “wonderful daily regular” who live across the street in the tiny home encampment. People in the surrounding neighborhood, frustrated with worsening traffic in Seattle, seem now to more frequently seek out places nearby, such as this one.

Over the past year, part of their dream has been realized, as Squirrel Chops has become a community hub. On a daily basis, people form new friendships through conversations, pass around the NY Times crossword puzzle to contribute a word, discuss politics, or find a table to work on their novel or studies.  Blyth-Moss and Henderson recently held a poster-making party here for those who planned to participate in January’s Women’s March. They offered $1 drip coffee for those who marched on Martin Luther King Day. In March, they’re hosting a book release party for one of their regulars who wrote part of her book on the premises. Shirley once contributed her own banjo for an impromptu music jam! Stuff happens here.

Squirrel Chops offers pastries, fine coffee or tea, different toasties (British/Australian hot sandwich pockets), tacos, wine, beer, sake, Bloody Marys and Mimosas. And haircuts. And good conversation.

Choices, choices.

Central Affordable Housing & Business Development

A year ago, Vulcan Real Estate bought six acres at 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street for $30.9 million in the Central District of Seattle. Five years earlier, another realty company, which sold to Vulcan, paid $12.5 million less. Currently, a Red Apple grocery store sits on this site, which will be replaced with two 7-story buildings separated by a public walkway and an additional one-level retail space. The first floor on the two, larger buildings will be for retail, with 530 apartments above and a multi-tiered 500+ parking garage below.

Renderings of Future Vulcan Building. Image: Vulcan Real Estate and Studio 216

Increased gentrification of our city has some concerned, and the Central District area is no exception. In the 1960s, this neighborhood was 70% African-American, according to a Seattle Times article; a year ago, it was down to 20%. In part due to sharply rising housing costs, there has been a call for more affordable housing in the Central District, and keeping or attracting African-American-owned businesses to the neighborhood. Concerning affordable housing, one-fifth of Vulcan’s new site will include rental units offered at a reduced amount (65-85% median income), which in turn provides Vulcan with a tax credit.

Other Central District plans are underway to increase affordable housing and business opportunities farther north along 23rd Avenue South as well. The Midtown Center at 23rd and East Union Street was purchased by a partnership for a combination of profit, retaining some of the center’s current character, and to build 125 affordable living units within the 500-unit complex. This developer might also receive a tax credit, not unlike Vulcan, and be able to build more floors on the building. And the former Liberty Bank location at nearby 24th and Union will be the site for a new 6-story, mixed-use building with up to 115 affordable housing units and commercial spaces that focus on attracting local business, especially African-American.

Jackson St. Jazz Walk This Saturday


The jazz scene in Seattle peaked between 1937 and 1951 and was centered around Jackson Street in what is now the International District. For the past several years the Jackson St. Music History Project, a partnership between the Pratt Fine Arts Center Youth Art Works and the Jackson Place Community Council, has been working with kids to create community art that celebrates Seattle’s place in jazz history. This Saturday, April 5, they’re bringing jazz back to Jackson with the Jackson St. Jazz Walk, featuring performances from 18 bands and musicians.

Best of all, this event is FREE and performances will be spread between six venues on Jackson Street between 16th and 21st Avenue South, giving you a taste of what club-hopping was like in jazz’s heyday. The lineup includes a diverse range of music representing Seattle’s eclectic contemporary jazz scene, from the Seattle Brazilian Jazz Ensemble to the Garlic Gulch Boys to the Bernie Jacobs Quartet and the Central District’s own Garfield High School jazz band. The walk starts at 4:00 p.m. and ends at midnight. See a full schedule and lineup here.

Also included on the schedule is the Pratt Fine Arts Center’s “One Hot Night”, the center’s bi-annual open house that offers live demonstrations, food and drinks from local vendors and food trucks, and class discounts for attendees. The open house is free and runs from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Pratt is located at 1902 S. Main St., one block north of Jackson.

This is a great opportunity to discover (or rediscover) Jackson Street, listen to some excellent music and support the Central District!


Seattle Music Partners Benefit Aims To Increase Access to Music and Mentoring


Seattle Music Partners, an after-school program that provides free music tutoring to kids at Central District elementary schools, invites you to its annual fundraising event on Wednesday, March 26. The event will include performances by both students and tutors from the program, guest speakers and details about the program’s expansion. The program is asking for community support to help provide more kids access to music instruction and mentoring.

The event is free of charge, and will run from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Northwest African American Museum located at 2300 S Massachusetts St. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be provided at no charge. For more information please contact Sarah Westneat at 206-250-4998.

March 9 Concert To Benefit Central Area Senior Center


The Central Area Senior Center has operated from its home on the Leschi Bluff for more than 35 years, providing countless services, including hot meals, exercise programs, computer classes, and wellness services, to more than 1,600 seniors each year. To help The Central continue to provide its wide range of services and to relieve some of its debt, the board will host a benefit concert Sunday, March 9 at the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center at Rainier Beach High School from 3:00-6:00 pm.

The Rainier Beach High School jazz ensemble will kick off the event, followed by other participating artists Funke Fusion Band, Darrius Willridge, Debbie Cavitt, Sheila Kay, Leo Camo, Butch Harrison, IFE, Rachel Foxx, Celestine, J Charles, Deems Tsutkawa, C T Thompson, and Felicia Loud and the Surround Sound Band. Refreshments will be served during intermission.

Tickets are $50 each and are available through Brown Paper Tickets or from The Central.

Rainier Beach High School is located at 8815 Seward Park Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118.


Big Changes Coming to 23rd and Union

Central District BuildingBig changes to coming to 23rd and Union according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.  According to the brief article a six-story apartment complex with retail on the ground floor is planned for the corner where the vacant lot is located.  As many of us remember there was a brick building on the lot before it was torn down due to heavy settlement issues that caused the building to look as if it would fall over.  The lot was just sold for $3.8 million and the new owners hope to begin building this spring.

Police Arrest Armed Man with Crack Cocaine in Central District

policePolice officers from the East Precinct’s Anti-Crime Team arranged a meeting Saturday morning in the Central District to purchase crack cocaine from a suspect. The suspect arrived near 25th Ave. and E. Fir St. around 1:15am. As the officers moved in for the arrest the suspect ran. They caught up with the 33 year old suspect and tackled him to the ground. While being tackled the suspect pulled out a loaded 9mm handgun from his waistband which officers were able to take from him before any shots were fired. Almost 8 grams of crack cocaine was found in the suspect’s possession. He was found to be a convicted felon and booked into the King County Jail on gun and drug charges.

Justin Ferrari’s Widow Speaks With His Killer

We have followed the case of Justin Ferrari fairly closely, and today Andrew Patterson, Ferrari’s killer in the second degree murder case, will sit before a judge in the King County courthouse and hear his sentence. According to the Seattle Times, Ferrari’s wife met with Patterson back in August, in a room of lawyers, police officers and jail guards to read him a prepared statement regarding the affect his actions, and the result of Ferrari’s death has affected her and her family. She explained to him how her young children were coping with the death of their father. police

Justin Ferrari was driving his parents, and his two children through the Central District in May 2012 when he was shot in the line of fire not meant for him. Andrew Patterson had shot at someone he had gotten into a scuffle with at a nearby mini mart, and Ferrari’s vehicle had unfortunately been in the line of fire. The meeting was proposed by Ferrari’s wife after she read about a sit down between a Florida family and the man who had killed their daughter. Patterson listened to her prepared statement, and apologized afterwards; the meeting was over within 30 minutes. Patterson is requesting a 13 year sentencing, which is below the standard sentencing for the crime. We will update when the final sentencing is released.

Man Forces His Way into Central District Apartment

policeAround 8:15pm Monday night near the 700 block of 26th Ave. a man forced his way through a door, breaking the locks. A woman was cooking in the kitchen when there was a knock at the door. Her young son unlocked the deadbolt and that is when the intruder forced his way in and grabbed the woman. She struggled with him and was able to get away. She and her son ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911. Another woman walking by the home heard noise and walked up to the door and asked what was going on. The intruder told her, “it was an accident” and fled the scene. The woman suffered a minor injury to her wrist when struggling with the intruder and was treated at Harborview Medical Center.